In response to the critical environmental challenges facing our planet, Taita Taveta University (TTU) enthusiastically embraced the government’s call to action by orchestrating an extensive tree-planting event on the recently declared public holiday, November 13th, 2023. Designated by the government as a nationwide day dedicated to tree planting, this initiative underscores TTU’s commitment to aligning with broader national efforts in combating climate change. Esteemed speakers, including the area member of parliament Hon. Peter Shake, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (ARO) Prof. Christine Onyango, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (AFP) Prof. Kiptanui Too and the area Chief, shared insights into the paramount role tree planting plays in environmental conservation.
Beyond symbolic gestures, tree planting serves as a crucial tool in mitigating climate change. Trees, as natural carbon sinks, are pivotal in reducing carbon dioxide levels, contributing to the global fight against environmental degradation. Additionally, they play a crucial role in biodiversity conservation, soil preservation, and the overall health of ecosystems. Despite the recognized benefits of afforestation, global tree cover continues to shrink at an alarming rate. Challenges such as deforestation, urban expansion, and unsustainable land practices emphasize the urgency of comprehensive tree planting initiatives worldwide.
The world grapples with unprecedented challenges due to climate change, manifested through extreme weather events, rising temperatures, unpredictable and irregular rainfall patterns and increasing sea levels. In Kenya, the impact is particularly severe in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) areas, where communities face increased temperatures, prolonged droughts, water scarcity, food insecurity, and heightened vulnerability to climate-related disasters.
Acknowledging the imminent threat of climate change, the global community has launched various initiatives to address the crisis. Simultaneously, the Kenyan government has embarked on ambitious efforts to increase forest cover and implement sustainable land management practices. TTU’s tree-planting event aligns seamlessly with these broader national and global environmental conservation endeavors.
DVC (AFP) Prof. Kiptanui Too emphasized the University’s commitment to planting 7,500 trees this financial year ending 30th June 2024, aligning with the annual performance contract 2023/2024 and contributing to the national goal set by the government. He further expounded on the need for afforestation as adopted by the government.
Aside from explaining the negative effects of climate change in the world today, DVC (ARO) Prof. Christine Onyango advocated for the construction of terraces and gabions to combat soil erosion, reinforcing the University’s dedication to sustainable land management practices.
The Area Chief stressed the significance of adhering to government directives on this special day dedicated to nationwide tree planting.
Area Member of Parliament Mr. Peter Shake addressed the unique challenges faced by ASAL areas and emphasized the pivotal role of tree planting in preserving the County’s ecological balance.
The tree-planting event witnessed overwhelming support from the University community (students and staff). The Area Member of Parliament assured the availability of additional tree seedlings at the National Youth Service in Mwatate, fostering a collaborative approach to achieving the university’s tree-planting goals and contributing to Kenya’s broader environmental conservation agenda.
In the face of escalating climate challenges, TTU’s tree-planting event stands as a testament to its unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship. As an active participant in the government’s initiative on this designated public holiday, the university’s dedication, coupled with the active engagement of local leaders and the community, signifies a monumental stride towards a greener and more sustainable future.
Mwatate Member of Parliament, Hon. Peter Shake, took the lead in the tree-planting exercise that was attended by students, staff, and community members. More than 2,000 tree seedlings were planted today with Prof. Kiptanui Too, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (AFP), reiterated the University’s steadfast commitment to tree planting, aiming to achieve a target of 3,500 trees within this week.