Plant for the Planet in Belgium!

Written by Ilke and Leanne
Rate this item
(3 votes)
Sunbeams Tree Planting Event 2010 Sunbeams Tree Planting Event 2010 JGI Belgium

This year is the International Year of Forests. Forests are home to millions of people and they sustain the livelihoods of millions more. They are essential to life on the Planet. Sadly, forest areas continue to decline. You can do your share, though, by helping plant a forest in Belgium - and in Congo.

International Year of the Forest UNFF

The United Nations General Assembly declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests, to raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests.

The impact of planting trees can be felt globally and locally. The United Nations claims that globally, forests are home to 300 million people and 80% of our biodiversity. As well as providing shelter, forests help purify both our water and air. They sustain the livelihoods of millions. Without forests, life on our planet would cease to exist in its present form. Thus, it is disheartening to see that despite the many trees planted by the Billion Tree Campaign, worldwide, the amount of forest area is still declining. In Belgium, for instance, the balance for 2009 was negative, with Flanders losing 90 hectares of forests.

However, many organizations, both local and global, have committed themselves to helping restore the natural equilibrium of our ecosystems, starting with trees.

Sunbeams tree planting event

Sunbeams wanted to take local action and invited people of all ages and backgrounds to plant for the Planet in Belgium. In March 2010, about 600 people from all over Belgium gathered in a wet and barren meadow. In less than one day, that empty meadow was transformed into a forest. A baby forest, to be sure, but one with the potential to grow and flourish, to nurture and protect, to shelter and feed for decades to come.

To make this possible, Sunbeams partnered with a Belgian forest association (Vereniging voor Bos in Vlaanderen) to provide technical expertise, and help with obtaining legal permission to plant a forest. With this event, Sunbeams wanted to bring together Belgians and expats from the greater Brussels area. Both Belgians and expats demonstrated that when it comes to the environment, they stand in solidarity. Last year’s participants proved that the two communities understand that a forest planted in one country benefits the whole planet, not only the region it is growing in. The event was sponsored by the Belgian King Baudouin Foundation. In addition, all trees were registered on the Billion Tree Campaign of the United Nations Environment Programme.

Due to the success of this initiative, Sunbeams will host another Tree Planting Event on Sunday, the 20th of March 2011 in Gooik, 20 km west of Brussels. Everyone and all are welcome to come and join us. For those who are unable to attend, why not consider making a donation - for every five euros donated, a tree will be planted in Gooik and a contribution will be made to the planting of a forest corridor in the Congo.

African project

This year, the Sunbeams tree planting event will make a global connection by partnering with Congolese youth who are planting a forest in their home country. The group is part of the global Jane Goodall’s Roots&Shoots movement. This particular Roots&Shoots group in Congo wants to make a green corridor between two rainforests to ameliorate the migratory patterns of local fauna - including chimpanzees. They are planting indigenous fruit trees to attract the chimpanzees and at the same time, are learning about local wildlife and conservation. Resident adults trained by the Jane Goodall Institute work as eco-guards to protect the trees and wildlife in this corridor. For every tree planted with Sunbeams in Belgium, an amount will go to trees for this inspiring African endeavour.

Practical information

On 20 March 2011, you can join Sunbeams to plant trees or donate trees to be planted for you that day. All ages can participate in planting the saplings - of 1 meter high - although the younger children may need a little help. The holes are pre-dug and demonstrations on how to plant will be given on site. One tree costs 5 euros and registrations and pledges can be made through our website. There, you can also find a map, a list of Frequently Asked Questions, practical information on transportation and pictures and quotes from last year’s event in the special newsletter. The information on the website will be updated regularly. If you want to participate as an organization, school, or company and reserve a plot of land please feel free to contact Sunbeams. You can also sponsor underprivileged children to participate and plant trees for you. For any further details, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

This article was originally published in the November 2010 issue of the Sunbeams Newsletter.

blog comments powered by Disqus