The City of Johannesburg has dedicated the month of September to highlight heritage and tackle climate change.  

In celebration of Arbor month, the City of Johannesburg is set to plant 2000 indigenous trees as a symbolic expression of sustainable environmental management. The trees will symbolize the cycle of life, representing a new beginning at the 116-year-old Brixton Cemetery.  

In a press release, Jolidee Matongo, the Executive Mayor said, “National Arbor week should serve to enlighten the nation about the value of trees and forests in people’s daily lives, it is an opportunity to call South Africans to plant indigenous trees as a practical and symbolic gesture of a sustainable environment.” 

The project of planting indigenous trees in Johannesburg’s inner city is not something new, in 2010 there was a drive to plant 200 000 indigenous trees. 

According to the 6th International Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) assessment,  sustaining the global temperature of 1.5°C in South Africa will require a 28% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in the next ten years.  

Chairperson of Wits Climate Justice charter movement, Mosibudumi Molokomme, said that more needs to be done in fighting for a greener nation. She suggested that climate conscious media and climate justice education programmes be introduced by the City of Johannesburg to educate and make climate change discourse accessible and easy to understand.  

“The media generally holds back from informing the public about climate change, in our country citizens generally perceive climate change as not a necessary priority to combat as we have other more immediate problems to deal with such as poverty, unemployment and systemic racism” she said. 

Margaret Arnolds, the MMC of Community Development, told Wits Vuvuzela, “Climate change is one of the key focus areas for the City of Johannesburg. The city has a climate change strategy aimed at reducing the negative impact and promoting greener lifestyles.” She added, “The city intends having a safer, and greener environment as its goal.” 

The planting of trees is currently an ongoing practice within the city, done by Johannesburg City parks and Zoo employees with the help of other departments. 


FEATURED IMAGE: Nature lover admiring tree. Photo: Natasha Joos