The recent wildfires in Australia have highlighted the need to protect forests and animal habitats. Are these fires a warning sign from Gaia? The moisture rich nature of forests usually protects them from fires, to an extent. However, the drought at the time of the fires in New South Wales (south east coast) have led to the complete incineration of eucalyptus and rain forests.

The importance of forests for humanity and life on Earth is being written across the sky in smoke – not a signal but a clear message – one we can see, smell, hear and feel. Just last week another fire broke out in the forests lining the bottom of Table Mountain in Cape Town and then jumped across to the foothill of Lion’s Head with the prevailing winds. One can’t help but take a moment to acknowledge the power of both humans and nature. Was the fire started by dry conditions and wind or did an irresponsible human start a fire to keep warm and then not distinguish it properly? If we continue to live in contrast to nature rather than alongside it with respect, will we enter into a war with our own home? And do we really think that war will be only between nature and man? If we continue to pillage and disrespect nature as a resource, we will essentially be at war with ourselves. But it isn’t all doom and gloom. If we work together strategically towards sustainability, nature can produce enough for us all.

The 21st of March is International Day of Forests and we love that forests are celebrated and recognised in this way. Drawing attention to green hubs is a big focus for CCFA because sustaining them helps mitigate carbon emissions (forests absorb harmful greenhouse gasses).

Forests are biodiverse environments that are home to the thousands of animal and insect species (80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity to be exact) responsible for regulating life sustaining processes.

The International Day of Forests was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012. The declaration of a day that honours forests aims to encourage countries around the world to host events and promote activities that raise awareness around the importance of forest preservation. The Secretariat of the United Nations Forum on Forests, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization, facilitates the implementation of such events in collaboration with governments, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, and international, regional and subregional organizations.

As humans we depend on forests for the air we breathe, the wood we burn for fire and use to create housing, furniture and paper. In order to use this resource responsibly, we must make sure that we replant what we uproot. Forests are a challenging resource to manage; humans are so dependent on them but when we cut down trees we destroy wildlife habitats and potentially wild animals themselves. Today an area the size of a soccer field is being destroyed every second through deforestation.

Forests are also a form of protection.They shield communities from adverse weather conditions and serve as catchment areas that help prevent flooding in low lying settlements. People living in these settlements depend on forests as a source of food, fuel, building materials and medicines.

The CCFA team is excited and proud of the Greening The Community project we initiated in 2019, alongside the founders of Indalo Nursery. The Indalo Nursery team in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, have inspired CCFA through their genuine, visible passion for working with plants, and their sense of duty to their cultural heritage. Through educating and motivating local communities Greening The Community aims to encourage the local community to start planting, maintaining and taking ownership of green zones. This project is a practical approach to offsetting carbon emissions but it is also an empowerment project that leads people towards taking responsibility for their lives; for the space they occupy on our planet, and for our home.

We’d like to encourage you to take a closer look at our Greening the Community project, in recognition of International Day of Forests

If you think there is a way you can contribute, whether through an informative public talk, educational workshops around tree planting and ‘greening’, or perhaps a donation of seeds or saplings, please feel free to contact us and discuss your ideas https://www.ccfa.africa/contact/.