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Old Mutual Insure donates 1 500 trees to the Zwelitsha community

On 21 March, OMInsure made a generous donation of 1 500 trees to the community of Zwelitsha in the Eastern Cape to celebrate International Day of Forests 2022 and World Planting Day.

Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) is thrilled to partner with Old Mutual Insure to make this wonderful community greening vision a reality. The trees have already been distributed through three schools in Zwelitsha, near Qonce (formerly King William’s Town). The Old Mutual Insure team and FTFA recently took part in a community meeting and spent some time at the schools to kickstart the project. 

FTFA trained 14 community members in tree care and climate change awareness. The tree planting workshop was a great success. As the trees grow over the next year, FTFA looks forward to monitoring their progress. We expect to report back on excellent survival rates.

Antonia Oakes, Old Mutual Insure Executive for Customer Experience and Responsible Business said; “Old Mutual Insure is proud to partner with Food & Trees for Africa to donate 1500 trees to the Zwelitsha community in the Eastern Cape. Through this donation we aim to play our role in greening our economically marginalised communities. We hope to enable them to become resilient against the devastating effects of climate change. This is part of our Responsible Business strategy. We aim to build climate change awareness and resilience at the community level.”

The theme for International Day of Forests 2022 is “Forests and sustainable production and consumption”. The days promotes sustainable wood as an eco-friendly alternative to a variety of other materials across multiple industries. To this end, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is championing sustainable forest management as a source of wood as a renewable resource. Wood can be used to build skyscrapers, provide fibres for clothing manufacture, and as a viable replacement for plastic. With advances in science, wood can also serve as a source of climate-friendly fuel, can be used surgically thanks to nanotechnology, and is even being trialled in satellite construction.

Closer to home, tree planting projects, reforestation, and greening campaigns offer a host of other valuable benefits. Greening regenerates and rehabilitates urban areas, provides shade, transpiration, and cooling, and promotes biodiversity. It also plays an important role in community beautification and upliftment, while trees can provide fruit, nuts, and medicine. 

Studies have suggested that planting trees plays an important role in reducing stress and anxiety in urban communities and improving mental and physical health. Trees and forests are also at the forefront of the fight against climate change. Greening areas with trees reduces atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide and slow global warming.

It is fitting that Old Mutual Insure has donated these 1 500 trees to Zwelitsha. The initiative promotes a healthier and more fulfilling environment for this particular community. The town was integral to the activities of the grassroots anti-Apartheid Black Consciousness Movement (BCM). This movement promoted political consciousness throughout the 1970s. Now, through community greening, it is hoped that these trees can promote environmental and health consciousness for present and future generations in Zwelitsha.

There is no better day than this to plant a tree or get involved in reforesting or community greening campaigns. Donate to FTFA and contribute to tree planting around the country, as we try to ensure a greener, healthier, and happier South Africa.

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