By Department of Environment
Arbour Day is here again! The annual Plant Fair and Climate Fest event is held yearly on the last Thursday of November by the Department of Environment (DoE). The DoE is scheduled to distribute thousands of various fruit trees to members of the public, whilst also engaging and educating the public on important environmental issues, such as ecosystem restoration and climate change.
The theme for this year’s activities is “We are Generation Restoration” highlighting this generation’s need to be actively involved in restoring the world’s environment. The overarching theme for Arbour Month is “Ride the climate wave” to emphasise our role in having an impactful contribution to the climate change movement.
The first Arbour Day was started to highlight the importance of trees for our environment and climate resilience, using tree planting as a form of celebration. This cumulative tree planting activity can be traced back to 1805. Presently, Arbour Day is recognised in several countries around the world, including right here in Antigua and Barbuda where Arbour Day has been marked in this special way for the last 17 years by the DoE. We have planted thousands of trees across Antigua and Barbuda and distributed even more trees, significantly adding to the effort to improve health, hygiene, environment, and resilience to climate change.
Today, Arbour Day 2022, the DoE will have a variety of fruit trees available for a $5 donation, which will go towards providing biodegradable plant bags for other tree planting efforts by the DoE. Other plants and flowers will also be on display and available for purchase from other vendors.
At the heart of the effort to plant trees and reforest Antigua and Barbuda is a need to restore our ecosystems and fight climate change. Science has proven that tree planting is critical to restoring our environment. In fact, in research done by the Swiss University ETH Zurich, it was estimated that with an aggressive worldwide tree planting programme, two thirds of all human emissions that contribute to climate change could be removed from the atmosphere by trees.
As Antigua and Barbuda and other small island states are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, the DoE is making efforts to mitigate and also adapt to climate change with major projects. Some of these projects are the Global Environment Facility supported Sustainable Low Emission Island Mobility (SLIM) Project, the Green Climate Fund supported Enhanced Direct Access (EDA) Project, and the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Project.
In addition to the opportunity to get a variety of trees and plants, there are other reasons for the public to come out to Arbour Day. The general public will get a chance to get their own mosquito trap at the Arbour Day Climate fest by purchasing plants, by attending presentations that will be made during the day, or by participating in any of various question and answer activities. These traps were secured by the DoE on behalf of several projects such as the EDA and NAP Projects, as well as the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) Project, the Fourth National Communication (4NC) Project, and the Adaptation Fund (AF) Project, to reduce mosquitos using environmentally safe and non-chemical methods of control, as well as to educate the public on the dangers of illegal dumping and how to protect our waterways.
Food, drinks and entertainment will also be provided at Arbour Day to make this an enjoyable, fun day for everyone to enjoy.
So, to everyone, Happy Arbour Day! Join us at the DoE’s lawn, just above the Botanical Gardens at #1 Victoria Drive, as we celebrate Generation Restoration.