Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation, a global Climate Justice Organization has conducted its second academy in the West African State of Liberia. The training took place on May 13, 2017 in the elite Sinkor Community in Monrovia, the country’s capital. The academy, as the training is tagged, trained 68 children between ages 7-16 years from eight schools as Climate Justice Ambassadors with the mandate to advocate for climate justice in the country and to plant more trees as symbol for climate justice. The training included a 1.5 kilometer Climate Walk, presentation on the climate crisis, sources of CO2, photosynthesis, TED Talk on climate change, and a tree planting party.
Making presentation at the training, the Program Coordinator of the Foundation in Liberia, A. Mohammed A. Foboi called on the children and other participants to start taking actions now to advert the climate crisis or risk losing the only planet they call home.
“Our actions on the planet our causing temperature to rise at a faster pace and if we don’t act now, we will need to escape to nowhere. This is our only home. We cannot live on any other planet except Earth, but if we destroy this place, a catastrophe is ahead of us.”
Mohammed challenged the participants to take tangible actions in their local communities as climate justice ambassadors and engage others, especially stakeholders to plant more trees, organize climate justice demonstrations, reduce carbon emission and reach out to more children about climate justice. He promised to provide the ambassadors all the supports they need to carry out their tasks in changing the current course of human actions on the environment.
“We are here to support you and on behalf of Plant-for-the-Planet, I can assure you of our continuous supports towards climate justice. Let’s plant as many trees as we can because trees are our best friends and our nicest neighbors. They provide us with shade from the sunray and provide us with enough oxygen for us to live. Trees also protect our homes from flooding because their roots absorb enough of water in the ground, and they shield our homes from the wind. Plant one tree and it supplies you, your parents, and one other person with enough oxygen for one whole year,” Mohammed explained.
Attending the academy were some government officials, civil society leaders, activists, YALI leaders, school administrators, and friends.
For her part, Assistant Minister for Youth Development at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Hon. Kula Fofana called on the children to use social media meaningfully in advocating for climate justice. She said climate change is a global issue now and Liberia is not an island from the global community.
“Felix at age nine did this extraordinary thing and join other global figures to have an indelible impact on our environment. All of you are today eating from Felix’ mind. Let this be a challenge to you. Many of you of the required age are using various social media platforms. Use them wisely for the purpose of climate justice. Post about climate change and call on your friends to join you. Today you are joining a global movement of children. Don’t just get the training and certificate and sit without actions.”
Minister Fofana who is also a nominee for the United Nations Secretary General Envoy on Youth, participated in the ‘”Stop Talking. Start Planting” campaign, a cheeky demonstration of the Foundation where a child places his/her hand to the mouth of a prominent person.
Also in attendance was the Speaker of the Liberia Children Parliament, Ms. Satta Sherif. She urged the children to be the next Felix of Liberia and assured them that the Children Parliament will do everything in its power to protect and support their efforts towards saving lives on the planet.
“As the national body of children in the Republic of Liberia, we will mobilize more children to join you in this fight and we will protect you as you fight. Many children around the world are taking actions against climate change and I am glad that this program is being launched in Liberia. Today, I pledge to plant 50 trees before my 23 birthday.”
Other participants also pledged to plant more trees before the end of 2017.
After the training, some of the participants went on a tree planting party at the country’s historic Providence Island. Ninety-eight (98) trees were planted on the Island and an additional 170 trees were distributed among the participants to plant in their local communities. Sixty-eight children were certificated as Climate Justice Ambassadors and 110 Tree By Tree Books were distributed among the participants, guests, and other offices in the country.
The first academy was conducted last October in Central Monrovia where 110 students from 12 schools were trained as Climate Justice Ambassadors.
Plant-for-the-Planet is a children’s idea that aims to raise awareness amongst children and adults about the issues of climate change and global justice. The Initiative also works to plant trees, and considers this to be both a practical and symbolic action in efforts to reduce the effect of climate change