Trees for Tomorrow @ Intlanganiso Secondary School on Heritage Day

On a day devoted to honouring and celebrating shared legacies of cultural, material and symbolic attributes inherited from past generations, and as part of Return to Origin’s Trees For Tomorrow Campaign, we facilitated a day of tree planting at Intlanganiso Secondary School in Khayelitsha. Thanks to generous donations from Kirstenbosch Garden Centre, we were able to gift and plant 30 indigenous trees at four respective schools in the community of Khayelitsha.

The Trees For Tomorrow Campaign in addition to the organisation’s Youth Nature Connection Days form part of a series of initiatives aimed at redressing and healing our relationship to the natural world. The pursuit of profit, power and technological progress has, for far too long, distorted our understanding of nature as something to be mastered, controlled, subjugated and commodified, rather than valued, respected, protected and preserved.

In the present socio-ecological crisis within which we find ourselves, the time for a radical shift in thinking and a reconsideration of our relationship to the earth has never been more urgent. Yet, as we have witnessed through our initiatives, it is in the very simple, yet deeply healing acts of planting trees in underserved communities and facilitating connections between youth and nature, that healing and transformation is most powerfully felt.

On Heritage Day, witnessing matriculants from Intlanganiso clearing the space for a tree to be planted, lowering it into the ground at the entrance of their school and, with their hands filling the hole up with earth, was a powerful reminder of the importance of leaving a legacy.

“The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life.” 

-Rabindranath Tagore

These trees, very much like a myriad of small, simple acts that make a difference in the world, will only realise their full potential in many years from now and long after these matriculants have left Intlanganiso. Yet with a shared vision, protection and nurturance, the trees planted today, serve as symbols of the power of coming together and leaving something meaningful behind for future generations to come.

In remembering the earth as mother, and nature as guide and teacher, we may begin to partner with natural systems and shift the consumerist mindset of scarcity to one of abundance. Let us, through these acts of planting trees and facilitating Youth Nature Connections contribute to healing and re-bridging the culture-nature divide that has led to our current socio-ecological crisis. Let us join hearts and hands in growing more life and potential, rather than paving over it.

In honouring and understanding the future of the natural world and that of our youth as inextricably connected, we can work towards recognising ourselves as custodians and guardians of the earth and understanding the diversity, interconnectedness and abundance of nature as a reminder of who we are and where we come from; a reminder of home, belonging and our shared heritage.

Fund the planting of a tree and make a difference @ https://www.returntoorigin.org.za/donation/

Thank You!