In a surprising but welcome move, Kenya’s government proclaimed today—Monday, 13 November 2023—a special public holiday to commemorate a national tree-planting day. Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki stressed the importance of this initiative in the battle against climate change in an official notification released on social media.
“The government has declared a special holiday on Monday, 13 November 2023, during which the public across the country shall be expected to plant trees as a patriotic contribution to the national efforts to save our country from the devastating effects of climate change,” Kindiki shared.
Financial commitments and ambitious targets
Kenya plans to invest more than $80 million in the current fiscal year to boost its seven percent forest cover to more than 10 percent by 2032. The importance of trees in storing carbon, a fundamental contributor to global warming, is obvious.
The Kenyan Environment, Climate Change, and Forestry Ministry are giving tree seedlings to help this extraordinary government-led effort as the climate crisis worsens, with the Horn of Africa enduring severe droughts.
A ‘hummingbird’ contribution day
Environment Minister Roselinda Soipan Tuya referred to the idea as a “hummingbird” contribution day, underlining the importance of working together to address the climate change challenge. “It is a moment for Kenyans to stand in solidarity to defend our environment,” she said.
Presidential priority and international recognition
President William Ruto, who takes office in September 2022, has prioritized national landscape and ecological restoration. During his recent visit to Kenya, King Charles III praised this commitment. At a state banquet, the King expressed respect for Kenya’s aim to plant 15 billion trees, saying, “Having been planting trees for most of my life, I thought I was doing rather well, but your ambition for planting 15 billion trees makes me admire your efforts.”
During his visit, Charles enthusiastically participated in the tree-planting campaign, showing global support for Kenya’s environmental aspirations. He planted a tree at Nairobi’s State House and another in the Karura forest, which is associated with late environmentalist and Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai.
A collective effort for a sustainable future
Kenya’s audacious decision to establish a national tree-planting day shows a growing worldwide awareness of the critical need to combat climate change. Kenya presents an encouraging example of proactive environmental stewardship, promoting optimism for a greener and more sustainable future, with ambitious aims, financial commitments, and international recognition.