Monday, April 13, 2015

Young environmentalist launches a project to plant a million trees

“The future belongs to the young people” Story Summary: Abdikadir has become a leading champion for the environment in northern Kenya. Through his Plant a Million Trees initiative, launched in June 2013, he is galvanising community tree planting projects and establishing tree nurseries throughout his local area with the mission to plant one million trees. He has set up the Yathrib Environmental Library for children and aims to reduce youth unemployment by helping to create green jobs in nurseries, farming and renewable energy. “It is possible to create green initiatives to combat climate change at the same time as creating green jobs,” he says. Abdikadir grew up in a poor rural village in northern Kenya and saw first hand the effects of climate change, drought and deforestation. From a young age, he recognised the importance of engaging local communities to counter such challenges.“There havebeen a lot of issues which have changed the natural environment in this area, like logging and deforestation. We need to work with communities to change attitudes.”As a result of his community tree planting scheme alone, 200,000 seedlings are now growing in local nurseries and 30,000 have been planted into the community. Abdikadir thinks he can reach his target in only four years. And he believes that young people arethe principal force for carrying forward his ideas: “It is what I love doing because every day I come up with new ideas and sit down with young people to talk about how we can make them happen.” In recognition of his work, Abdikadir was awarded a Head of State Commendation from the President of Kenya, and he hasbeen selected as an eco-generation regional ambassador by the United Nations Environment Programme. Abdikadir is one of the first ever recipients of a Queen’s Young Leaders Award. The Award, which will be presented by Her Majesty The Queen in June, is part of The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme, and celebrates the achievements of young people who are taking the lead to transform the lives of others and make a lasting difference in the communities.

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