Monday, November 10, 2014

Planting for People & Planet Alike

"Never Doubt that A Small Group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has."  The quote above by Margaret Meade is the perfect statement for the weekend that just passed. Seventeen members of our community - a group of "thoughtful, conscientious" students, parents and faculty, came together to plant some trees. It was the culmination of several months of coordination with a local NGO, The Global Environment Centre, focusing of its efforts on rejuvenation of peat forests in Malaysia. The funding for the event was graciously provided by the ISKL Annual Fund. 

This particular group head out at 7 am on Saturday, November 8 on a day that competition was high for perspective volunteers, with HS athletics and the Google Educators conference underway at Ampang and SATs going on simultaneously off campus. The morning rain gave way, just in time it seemed, to cloud cover that kept the heat at bay. The troop arrived shortly after 8:15 and walked 1.25 km down a rugged mud road to the location of the planting. There they changed into boots, were given gloves and ponchos and headed out - after a short briefing on the importance of planting and the species to be planted - to plant and plant some more.

By the end of the event (around 12:00 noon) the group had planted 210 trees that will benefit the peat forest ecosystem by providing food sources (small berries in this case), attracting birds and insects to the area in greater numbers. It was important for everyone to recognize not just the benefit of planting directly, but also how the planting fit into the big picture of the haze in SE Asia, the relationship between education of local communities versus typical slash and burn behaviors, the economic benefits of supporting local nurseries and involving locals in the planting process as well as their participation in the growth of peat swamps around Malaysia. In short, it was important to recognize how interconnected ecology, economy, society and politics are and how a systemic approach to solving global issues is necessary and already underway. 

The conversations were timely. The planting was a win-win for people and planet alike. 

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