By: Alison Weihe

(author, identity intelligence coach) 

Are you planting a few trees as your goals this year? Or are you visioning the forest of your dreams?

As the focus shifts to world-wide issues and questions about humanity’s role in the destruction and preservation of nature, at its core here is a forest-building mission we can adapt to this year as a country.

It may seem like a lot of work now and un-inspiring. Unrealistic. As we face climate change, our country needs sustainable and practical solutions as well as architecture, interior design, DIY projects, home decor, crafts, gardening and healthy eating.

People need a place to escape to from all the social issues and domestic issues we face daily. A place to relax, to connect, to reflect. A Forest in your backyard. 

Planting the forest of your dreams will elevate our homes, our communities, our cities and our beautiful country. 


According to author – Alison Weihe, seven years ago, when she and her husband started their passion project, it was a fairly barren piece of land. Just a few stunted trees and some wild gum trees down at the shoreline. Elegantly poised. Waiting. Patiently. Instead of renovating the house, her husband had a vision to plant trees. 800 of them. He knew it would take time for the trees to root. To grow strong.  To build strong stems to withstand the primal winds that tunnel through the grasslands. One phase at a time.Nothing was instant. Everything took time. Sometimes it takes a vision to think beyond the ordinary in order to create the extraordinary.The bird life started returning to their home, nature unfolded, her husband is still planting trees. He might never see some of them grow tall. But someone else will walk in the legacy of his shade. 


A single person can make a difference. Plant one tree. Plant an entire forest. But plant something. Then when we look back to this year, we see the harvest of our hands. We need promote the relationship between people and nature, to make it more of a biophilic city,” Let’s teach the younger generation about nature and climate action and how they can play their part to create South Africa’s tree project of aspirations. programmes combine well to plant trees in both shared spaces (schools, hospitals, clinics, parks, etc.) and private homes, to create a healthier, more food secure environment.

Environmental teachers, experts and forest engineers must join forces to run an education programme in our communities’ encompassing talks and training for the unskilled and unemployed, interactive gamified activities and plantation community and school visits. We can create an understanding about why urban forests are beneficial for our communities and what kind of species are planted in which area and why, why planting the forest of our dreams is important and the impact of getting everyone involved.

Trees can enhance the community’s sense of pride and ownership through active involvement in tree planting and strong sense of community involvement, environmental responsibility and ethics. Trees also lower criminal activities in the community as a research that exposure to trees has a relaxing effect on humans, reducing stress and imparting a sense of wellbeing. 


Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can impact a student’s success in school. Green environments, such as open spaces with big trees, are related to reduced symptoms of ADD and ADHD. A Tree cover is strongly linked to student academic performance. Trees can promote a quality education, which has innumerable advantages for society. Access to trees supports a quality education. To increase literacy and numeracy and lower the high failure rate in schools, children need to have access to nature, and at the very least, green and natural views of trees. Trees lower stress levels, boost concentration, they add intrinsic motivation and are likely strong factors in a child’s success as a student. Students who are focused, attentive, and engaged are more likely to succeed in school and receive a quality education. 


Trees promote a strong economy and can provide numerous resources to the people that need them. While cities are getting hotter, trees can reduce urban temperatures. Planting trees promotes health and social well-being by removing air pollution, encouraging physical activity, reducing stress and promoting social ties in the community. According to studies, children with views of trees are more likely to succeed in school. They provide habitat and food for animals. Finally, trees are valuable green infrastructure to manage stormwater. Money spent on urban forestry has a high return on investment. As we navigate this technology-dominated era, we need skilled people who understand the nuances of the built environment and trees as we strategically build new homes for our families and children. 


Trees reduce energy use and remove pollution. Planting Trees plays a critical role for people and the communities we live in. The presence of trees and urban nature in every community can improve people’s mental and physical health, children’s attention and test scores, the property values increase in the neighbourhood, and beyond. Trees cool our streets; they are essential for healthy communities and healthy people. The benefits that planting a tree provides can help people collectively to reach sustainable goals.


Wood is an important source of material and energy. Trees that are cut down and can be used for timber. This could be used for fuel or for producing goods. Innovative programs can promote sustainability through creative usage of urban wood. An example is the “Working for Water” program in South Africa which trains people to remove woody invasive species, and then the cleared wood can be used for a variety of secondary industries. While this program works with invasive species, it serves as an example of creative solutions involving the community with urban issues involving trees. Surrounding trees can also help supply affordable energy to people that need it.

Agroforestry was previously recognized as a way to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Planting trees provides resources, such as food, to a community. The idea that trees can provide food security and promote well-being. As long as trees do not block the view of an office building, quality landscaping with properly maintained trees can increase rental rates for property managers and create employment for Airbnb business for homeowners. 


A very important point to note, however, that burning wood is a large contributor to air pollution in the environment. Therefore, if wood is used for fuel, it should be burned in such a way that the benefits outweigh the harm to human health. Trees are a valuable resource, even after they are cut down.

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