2 September 2022 – September is a month filled with so many good reasons to plant trees. It is World Tourism Month, Arbor Month and Heritage Month in South Africa. Planting trees in honour and celebration of these themes highlights many important aspects of the South African environment and society. These themes encourage us to pay attention to South Africa’s natural heritage, our environmental conservation efforts, and how both of these underpin one of the most important economic sectors in our country, tourism.
“Trees are a part of South Africa’s natural heritage. They are an essential component of our indigenous knowledge and traditional medicine systems, and they support our natural biodiversity which is key to the tourism sector. BLUU could not have chosen a more appropriate time to plant these trees that will support communities and ecosystems for years to come,” says Susan Evans, Events and Tree Distribution Manager at FTFA.
This year, BLUU Car Rental, in partnership with Food & Trees or Africa (FTFA) is honouring Arbor day and South African forests in the month of September with 1000 trees planted across the Western Cape. An additional 2000 trees will follow at the end of September in the Eastern Cape. One thousand of these trees will be planted on World Tourism Day throughout various communities, while the other 1000 will be rooted down in FTFA’s Afforestation Project in Stutterheim, Eastern Cape.
BLUU, one of South Africa’s leading car rental brands, is a key supplier in the travel and tourism industry. Earlier this year, BLUU pledged to plant 5000 trees with FTFA to help rebuild South Africa’s natural capital and protect nature-based tourism. In July 2022, on World Nature Conservation Day, they began their long-term tree planting initiative with 1000 trees planted at Skeen Primary School in Alexandra and the surrounding Johannesburg area. The aim of these initiatives is to help regenerate South Africa’s natural resources, and ensure a sustainable future for the tourism industry and the country as a whole.
“The BLUU Team has had a wonderful time planting these trees in their communities, and the warm welcome and gratitude shown by everyone involved has been humbling. I can think of no better way to celebrate Tourism Month which plays such an integral part of our business, as well as South Africa’s economy as a whole,” says Lindsay Versfeld, Marketing and Partnership Manager at BLUU Car Rental.
BLUU and FTFA began the second round of their nation-wide distribution of trees with a volunteer day at Woodside Special Care Centre, in Rondebosch, Cape Town on Friday, 2 September. Woodside Special Care Centre was established in 1976 to provide care for people with various disabilities.
“The trees being donated will provide much needed shade in the new garden for our residents and the fruit will provide residents with a healthy alternative to salty and sugary snacks,” says Clive Obery from Woodside Special Care Centre.
Trees, especially indigenous ones, have a number of environmental and human welfare benefits. Other than providing shade, trees make communities and ecosystems more resilient to climate change. Forests and other green spaces provide multiple “Ecosystem Services”. Such systems play a vital role in regulating our climate, and especially extreme weather events like drought and flooding. Tree planting efforts are a triple win for society, improving livelihoods, absorbing and storing climate-altering greenhouse gases (GHGs), and providing habitat for species which increases biodiversity and the health of ecosystems.