About 100 youngsters were trained during the 2nd Plant-for-the-Planet Academy
Last Saturday (09/02), a group of about 100 young participants of the Plant-for-the-Planet project carried out the first planting of native seedlings along the walking trail Alameda dos Inconfidentes, in Mariana (MG).
During the event, the children and teenagers trained at the 2nd Plant-for-the-Planet Academy received the certificates of “Climate Justice Ambassadors”. They now have the mission of having other young people understand the importance of ecological awareness and of leading the environmental change that the planet needs. “It is a movement that is growing, strengthening and that can transform, not only Mariana and the Doce River, but even the world. It is not only the planting, but also the continuously taking care of these plants. It is important that these young people take ownership of what is being done and bear the responsibility of spreading the message about caring for the environment”, said Shimena Guedes, leader of the education and culture actions of the Renova Foundation.
The tree that was chosen is called Ipê, a plant that blooms from Maranhão to Rio Grande do Sul, and which is a Brazilian national symbol. The seedlings that were planted should be flowering within four years. The goal of the project is planting one million native trees along the Doce River.
Juliana Alves, Mariana’s Secretary of Education, emphasized the importance of training for the independence of these young people: “What captivated me most in this movement was the development of autonomy of the Ambassadors. Not only in relation to the environment, but also to the place where they are growing up. In this change, they have the main role”, she said.
Student Jordane Karolayne, 14 years old, of the State School Monsenhor Moraes, located in the district of Furquim, was delighted with the project and said she will share the idea with her community. “We have to take care of the planet. It’s ours too”, she said.
Student of the Municipal School Don Oscar, Mariana Marçal, 12 years old, summarized what, for her, is the project’s mission. “Our mission now is to make people aware. I hope a lot of people want to join us. The more trees, the more oxygen and the better for the planet. What I find so cool is the fact that all this started from the idea of a nine-year-old boy, who is now an example to all of us”, said the student.
In addition to Mariana and Jordane, students from the municipal, state and private education networks in Mariana participated in the project, as well as young people from social projects and from communities affected by the collapse of the Fundão dam.
The project is an unprecedented initiative in Minas Gerais, born out of a partnership between the local authorities of Mariana, the Renova Foundation and Plant-for-the-Planet, an institution created in Germany aimed at planting trees and mobilizing children and youth.
Plant-for-the-Planet was born in Germany in 2007, when Felix Finkbeiner was only 9 years old. Inspired by Wangari Maathai, who planted 30 million trees in Africa in 30 years, Felix had the idea of encouraging children to plant one million trees in each country in the world. The movement received the support of the United Nations Environment Program. At the time, the Executive Director of the entity, Achim Steiner, was one of the first to be photographed with his mouth covered. The idea was launched by a German advertising agency that helped create the “Stop Talking, Start Planting” campaign, designing an image that could be reproduced by any child activist standing next to an authority or celebrity. The boy’s or girl’s right hand should cover the adult’s mouth! Brazilian model Gisele Bündchen, engaged in the environmental cause, let herself be silenced. In Mariana, the scene was repeated by the mayor Duarte Junior “Du” and also the CEO of the Renova Foundation, Roberto Waack, who participated in the campaign alongside the young ambassadors.