Happy International Mother Earth Day!

This year, the United Nations has invited world leaders to its New York Headquarters for a special ceremony to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, a historical document agreed upon last December in an effort to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

However, the official theme of Earth Day 2016 is Trees for the Earth, and the UN is celebrating forests by planting a tree in its Food Garden. UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson and the President of the General Assembly Mogens Lykketoft, among other officials, took to their shovels to dig a hole for a new flowering tree on UN grounds.

They hope the UN Food Garden tree inspires YOU to plant one near your home, too! The UN Environment Programme even has some tips for getting started in your community. Check them out!

Why is tree planting important?

Trees are oxygen filters, and they providing shelter and food for humans and other animals. It is essential that we make sure we replace all the trees being cut down for personal and commercial reasons. If performed properly, tree planting can ensure the successful restoration of a deforested area.

Who can be a tree planter?

Anyone can be! All you have to do is plant a tree and watch over it as it grows and you will have become a tree planter.

When to plant a tree?

Consider making the act an unforgettable one by picking an important date (your birthday or a special event day) for you to plant it and share the experience with family and friends. However, consider if it’s the right time of year. Climate plays an important role for deciding on the right planting time. Newly planted trees do best when exposed to moderate temperature and rainfall.

Where to plant a tree?

Different people have different ideas for planting sites: personal gardens, schools, parks and work are some of the locations you can choose from. Once you have chosen the location on which you would like to plant a tree, you need to speak to the owner or the manager of the property in order to get the permission to go ahead and plant. This person can either be a park ranger, the principal at your school or your employer.

About the UN Food Garden:

The UN Food Gardens is an initiative of staff volunteers from various UN system entities and Permanent
Missions to the UN. It aims to transform unused land at the UN Headquarters into sustainable food
gardens. By integrating small-scale food production into its own landscape, the UN translates global
priorities related to increased biodiversity, good land stewardship, sustainable food systems and
greener cities into action and leads by example.

The first garden was officially opened by the Secretary-General in July 2015. A wide variety of edible
plants from around the world have since been grown in the garden. UNICEF’s and the UN Secretariat’s
caterers have turned some of the garden produce into super-local, healthy food for UN staff.
Native pollinators have returned to the area.