How “Pet a Tree” Climate Change Initiative Will Help Uganda Tourism
- While launching the initiative, the Minister pledged his full support to the organization.
- The project falls directly under Uganda’s National Development Plan of the 40 million tree campaign.
- The Minister elaborated that a relationship between tourism and the environment is interdependent for wildlife which needs the trees to survive. So there is the need to conserve already existing trees while planting more.
The environment, by its natural, cultural-historical, social climate potential, represents the motivation of tourists’ travels, while a clean and unaltered environment cannot exist without practicing eco-tourism.
The Country Director of the Uganda World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Mr. David Dduli, thanked the founders of “Pet a Tree” for birthing such a brilliant initiative, and committed the organization’s support in a move aimed at tree restoration. “There is need to mobilize youths to join the initiative. Pet names have always been part of the African tradition, and it creates an attachment. Let’s use ‘Pet a Tree’ to bring back the pet names practice,” said Duli. “We are standing on an opportunity our ancestors had and lost, and it is now our opportunity to recreate it for future generations.”
The Africa Tourism and Environment initiatives Board Chairperson, who is also the Board Chair of the Uganda Hotel Owners Association, Mrs. Susan Muhwezi, thanked the National Forestry Authority (NFA), WWF, UWEC, and the Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities for supporting such an amazing initiative that focuses on restoring biodiversity. She spoke about how she has continuously supported such initiatives in her individual capacity and will continue to do so. Mrs. Muhwezi challenged government and development partners to continuously support young people initiatives that develop the country.
The UWEC Executive Director, Dr. James Musiguzi, advised Ugandans to make it a norm to plant trees on special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, etc. He added: “The planet demands that human beings not only think in short term but across generations perhaps for the first time in the history of mankind. We need to acknowledge the underlying challenge of climate change.”
The State Minister for the Environment, Honorable Beatrice Anywar, was represented by Stuart Maniraguha, the Director of the Plantation at NFA, who emphasized the need to plant at least 124 hectares of land annually in a move aimed at restoring the lost forest cover. He said within a 30-year period, the tree population had reduced from 24% to 8% but says there is now a ray of hope with such initiatives. The impact is being felt by an increase to 10% forest cover, and he pledged NFA’s support to the “Pet a Tree” campaign. He further called for renewed awareness and participation of every Ugandan and organization to join climate change campaigns in a move aimed at restoring nature.
The Tooro Kingdom Minister for Tourism, Joan Else Kantu, on behalf of the kingdom accorded the “Pet a Tree” campaign 5 acres of land to plant a forest in Tooro using Tooro pet names. “We are listening to nature’s cry. This forest is to ensure our grandchildren appreciate biodiversity like we have enjoyed it.”
Amumpaire Moses Bismac, the Founder of “Pet a Tree” and Africa Tourism and Environment Initiatives, expressed appreciation for government agencies WWF, National Forestry Authority, Uganda Wildlife Education Center, and Uganda Wildlife Authority for supporting the “Pet a Tree” campaign. He called upon fellow journalists and all Ugandans to at least have one Pet tree. “In a special way, I appreciate the support of WWF on its environmental initiatives and support to this ‘Pet a Tree’ campaign.”
In Uganda, the Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom, one of the country’s cultural institutions adapted laying of seedlings instead of wreaths at burials in an initiative by Omukama (King) Solomon Gafabusa Iguru I to reforest the kingdom, a practice that has since taken root in the last few years.