I grew up in Lagos mainland, typically populated and as such filled with residential buildings all over the place. But we were fortunate to have a tree in our compound, I say fortunate because it was quite a big deal, I remember people describing our house as “the one with the tall tree” and this made us very proud.

Our tree was a Mango tree; she was tall, broad and had a very special way of providing shade for people. She also gave us food when it was her time. It is funny how Mangoes have become one of favourite things in the whole world, as a fruit, a juice, in a body wash or shampoo and even as a brand to shop from. I love anything that has to do with Mangoes.

But one day, something very sad happened; I came back from school and found our tree gone. My father explained that the landlord didn’t want it there again and we could always get Mangoes at the local market. My full reactions are not very clear to me now  but I was furious. It sounded absurd to not want a tree that gave us everything but never asked anything of us.  Our tree was not cut from the roots so she began to sprout back but they kept cutting it till they took her life away completely.

Fast forward to about 14 years later, I have grown to be this young woman that advocates for trees and environmental protection. Isn’t it amazing how God just arranges our path in life?

For Earth Day 2016, the focus and theme is Tree Planting which goes without saying because the world is under a serious threat of climate change and the more trees the world has, the more our chances of avoiding this cataclysmic future are averted.

We need to plant more trees because as you may know, in the process of photosynthesis, an exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen happens between animals and plants, our trees give us oxygen free of charge and are also still able to absorb excess and harmful carbon dioxide from our atmosphere and thereby combating climate change in a significant way, so significant that an acre of mature tree is able to absorb the same amount of CO2 produced by driving the average car for 26,000 miles!

We need to plant more trees because they help us breathe clean air, there is something so relaxing and therapeutic about lying next to a tree, this is because trees are able to absorb odours and pollutant gases in our environment; gases like nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone, they also filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their own  leaves and bark.

We need to plant more trees because they have an awesome way of beautifying our cities and communities, they are able to provide food, energy and income by just living, it is correct to say that trees can help promote economic and environmental sustainability. A good example would be a country like Kenya who has an impressive ecotourism and forestry plan that positively impacts their economy and even society. No wonder they are always smiling.

Well, you might say – I don’t have the time or opportunity to plant a tree , so why not align with the many organisations  involved in this , help share information about these activities on social media and also donate to them if you can. We really need to give back to nature.

The goal for the Earth Day Network is to plant 7.8 Billion trees over the course of the next five years . In Nigeria, I know of a couple of organisations who are working to help achieve this goal.

One of them is the LUFASI park who held an amazing tree planting activity yesterday.

Today, SustyVibes and FABE foundation would be planting trees, cleaning the environment and also promoting climate action and gender equality through sports (Coolness!).  I cannot wait to bring you details of this event.

Earth Day event


Also next week, I would be taking you around Lufasi Park, a super susty place.

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Stay Susty.

Jennifer Uchendu

Jennifer Uchendu

Founder, SustyVibes
Nigerian Ecofeminist passionate about sustainable development. You would often find me talking about African women and how their development will save Africa.