Planting our future: a community united for the earth

Rhea Bose, communications officer at the Columban missionaries Britain, delves into how students, Columban missionaries, and refugees joined forces to plant over 2000 trees, showcasing community-driven environmental stewardship and optimism.

Tree Plantation in Solihull, Birmingham
Tree Plantation in Solihull, Birmingham

On a crisp morning of the 9th of February, 2024, a wave of enthusiasm swept through the hearts of 45 young individuals and their mentors as they set out on a mission that extended far beyond the realms of their classrooms. These students, from 21 different schools, had made a profound commitment, not just to their education, but to the planet. They pledged to support the nurturing of trees in the distant lands of the Philippines, in collaboration with the Columban Missionaries. This initiative wasn’t a mere extracurricular activity; it was a step towards a lifelong relationship with the Earth, a testament to their dedication to environmental stewardship.

Just a few days later, on the 13th of February, the spirit of community and conservation grew even stronger. A diverse group of over 60 individuals gathered, comprising Columban staff and their families, parishioners from Olton Friary parish, a Columban Sister from London, a Columban Lay Missionary and the refugees she accompanies in Birmingham, along with volunteer members of the Columban Justice, Peace, and Ecology team, and Columban priests. Their backgrounds were varied, but their goal was unified—to plant a future, one tree at a time.

The Columban Missionaries, driven by their faith and first-hand experiences with communities at the forefront of the climate crisis, have always championed the causes of education and advocacy for nature. Participating in “Planting Our Future” wasn’t just an activity; it was a declaration of their commitment to embody the values they preach. Over the span of two days, these dedicated groups managed to plant over 2000 trees, a milestone that speaks volumes of their dedication to ecological sustainability and environmental justice.

The ceremony was graced by the presence of our Regional Director, Fr. John Boles, who added a touch of sanctity to the occasion. With leaves dipped in water, he sprinkled blessings upon everyone participating in the event. He said, “We now proceed to bless all your faithful and give them luck, good fortune, protection, happiness, and joy on this day of the campaign for tree plantation.”

This initiative underscores a crucial message: environmental conservation is not a solitary journey. It’s a collective endeavour that transcends age, profession, and background. The involvement of students and teachers, alongside missionaries, lay workers, refugees, and parishioners, highlights the power of community in tackling the pressing challenges of our time.

“Planting Our Future” goes beyond the act of planting trees. It’s about planting hope, nurturing relationships with our planet, and fostering a culture of care that will flourish for generations to come. The Columban Missionaries’ effort to live up to their values through tangible actions sets a precedent for all of us. It’s a call to action for each individual to reflect on how we can contribute to a more sustainable and just world.

As we move forward, let’s carry the spirit of this initiative in our hearts. Let’s remember that every small action, every tree planted, adds up to a significant impact. Together, we can create a future that is greener, healthier, and more inclusive. The journey of “Planting Our Future” is just beginning, and it’s up to us to keep the momentum going.

To everyone involved in this remarkable initiative—thank you. Your efforts are a beacon of hope and a reminder that when we come together, there’s no limit to what we can achieve for our planet.

Read more about the tree planting project in Philippines

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