The goal of the project is to plant one million native seedlings along the Doce River
About 100 youngsters and children from Mariana (MG) participated in the 2nd Plant-for-the-Planet Academy on Saturday August 19. The event aims to empower young people to pass along good deeds in favor of the environment. This initiative, unprecedented in Minas Gerais, was 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 youngsters. The activities continue September 2, at 3:00 pm, in Mariana, with the ambassadors participating in the first planting of native seedlings along the pedestrian avenue Alameda dos Inconfidentes.
During the academy, future ambassadors participated in discussions on climate change and the importance of trees to the planet. The idea is that, from now on, they should be able to make peers aware of the importance of having an environmental conscience, including the benefits of planting trees to reduce CO2. The activities were developed in partnership with the municipal secretariats of Education, Environment and Social Development of Mariana. Students from public and private education networks and social projects participated, as well as children from communities affected by the Fundão dam. The goal of the project is planting one million native tree seedlings along the Doce River.
For mayor Duarte Júnior, this is an opportunity for Mariana to become an example for the entire country, having the involvement of children and teenagers in these preservation actions. “Mariana is a front-runner with this project, which has a strong basis thanks to the partnership with the Renova Foundation. They will work together with the municipality in raising awareness among people to cherish the environment. This is a great challenge, but imagine if each person plants a tree, how easy it would be to achieve our goal”, says Duarte.
The CEO of the Renova Foundation, Roberto Waack, points out that the launch of Plant-for-the-Planet, in Mariana, is quite symbolic. “This is a project that, in an unpretentious but ambitious way, treats a transformation involving the communities, especially the young. The Doce River needs this, not only because of the disaster that happened, but also what was happening before. We have an opportunity to, little by little, make this process work. We have to do it now and in different ways, especially by putting our efforts into education and young people as the ambassadors who will make this transformation along the Doce River happen. This project is to set an example to the world”, Waack said.
At 17, Pedro Chaves, student at the “Dom Silvério” State School and participant in the Young Apprentice Program, is one of eight youngsters certificated by the project as “Climate Justice Ambassadors”. “It’s a really cool project that seeks the preservation of life. Our mission is to spread the message that we must preserve the environment in which we live for future generations, for example by planting trees. The children will be the great forerunners of the project, we will show them the importance of taking care of nature”, he says.
Nicolas Mendes, 13 years old, student at the Dom Oscar Municipal School, was excited to participate for the first time in a workshop of the project. “Our mission now is to make people aware, I hope a lot of people want to join us. We’re going to start at home, with our families, and then move through the neighborhood”, he said.
Plant-for-the-Planet was born in Germany in 2007, when Felix Finkbeiner was only 9 years old. Inspired by a teacher and political activist from Kenya, 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 the CEO of the Renova Foundation, Roberto Waack, who participated in the campaign alongside the young ambassadors.