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Trees for Africa, via the Olympics

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We’ve all had a view into the highs and lows of competitive sport and athletic achievement lately. All thanks to the recent Olympics and currently competing Paralympics.

But there are facets to the Olympics beyond the games we see. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is a global not-for-profit organisation. And while most its revenues are directed toward sports at all levels, like any organisation today it also needs to consider sustainability.

This is why it has launched its Olympic Forest Initiative as part of its wider Climate Positive Strategy. The project contributes to Africa’s Great Green Wall, which is tackling desertification, climate change, biodiversity and food and economic security in the Sahel region. The Olympic Forest will plant around 355,000 indigenous trees across approximately 90 villages in Mali and Senegal.

These trees will enrich and stabilise soils, among other benefits. As they grow, they will strengthen the region environmentally, economically and socially. A reminder that these aspects of life are interlinked. And a reminder that the more we give to nature, the more she can give to us.

Next Wednesday is Arbor Day in South Africa. So this is an especially good time for us to appreciate trees. At GREEN HOME, trees provide us with some our natural biodegradable raw materials and we’re always keen to sing their praises.

Humans have depended on trees for as long as we’ve existed. They provide us with shade, oxygen, shelter, food and a wide range of essential materials. They balance the climate, provide habitat for countless species and green our world.

Towards Stronger, Healthier Forests

How we harvest trees is incredibly important. Forests are remarkably regenerative. But practices like clear cut logging, and the logging of old growth forests including the oldest and biggest trees severely undermines this regenerative capacity.

The good news is that sustainable management of forests is possible. And we have more scientific understanding of what makes a healthy forest than ever before. These understandings include the importance of mycorrhizal fungi and the role older trees play in forest ecosystems.

Trees can also stabilise land, protect against drought and uplift communities, which motivates for initiatives like the Great Green Wall, and the future Olympic Forest in Senegal and Mali.

At GREEN HOME we always source our paper and wood products from sustainably managed plantations. And we hope to see sustainable forestry grow and develop in the coming years. Truly amazing things are possible when we work with nature.

Humans will always rely on trees. The key is building reciprocal and positive relationships with trees and forests worldwide.

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