Action Spotlight: 350 Flowers in Cameroon
Here's a guest post from community organizer and sustainable agriculture advocate Tantoh Nforba. Hailing from Nkambe in the northwest of Cameroon, Tantoh has spent the past few years teaching community members environmentally-sensitive farming methods, and helps communities preserve clean water and prevent desertification by planting trees. Tantoh received recognition last year as part of the Tahoe-Baikal Institute's summer exchange program, and subsequently founded a local group called Save Your Future Association. On World Environment Day, Tantoh took action in his community by planting the words "CO2 350 PPM" on an embankment in flowers. Here are a few words from him:
I designed this just two days before World Environment Day. Coincidentally, the slogan 350 CO2 was in line with the theme of this year's WED. I organised a soccer match with another young environmental group in town, and we stopped by the site and talk about what I wrote in relation to the theme of WED. The match attracted many people from the village, and I had the opportunity to answer many questions about what CO2 350 PPM means.
The site is very strategic -- it's by the roadside and on a small slope. It is about 100m sq., and located in the heart of the town. We plowed the whole area and planted more than 50 roses seedlings from my small nursery. I hope to put a small lawn behind the flower design and plant a tree in the lawn with the community. By September, the flowers will have adapted very well and the design will be able to be read from a distance. I believe in symbolic and practical demonstrations like this -- it makes sense to me since climate change is impacting my community. When the flower design is done, I will organize a talk about it at our local community radio station. That is the joy of being a volunteer to protect nature.
I am making arrangements for a 350 tree planting. We shall plant fruit trees as well as ornamental trees. I thought of fruit trees because besides helping with climate change, in the long run, it will provide income for the community, especially to the SYFA volunteers. Most of the natural trees will be planted in a spring catchment which is still to be decided, and some in schools and churches. These trees shall be bought from other nurseries out of Nkambe (about 180km on poor roads). I am still to start my own nursery behind the new SYFA Resource Center which we are aspiring to buy. We hope to plant all these trees this June so that they can adapt before the rains go away in October. If this planting is successful, I will choose another community to carry out same exercise with youth and children of the area.
I understand that the beginning is always difficult, but bit by bit, we shall reach the top of the mountain one day.