'The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.'
There is a charity called TREE AID here that works to bring life, through trees, to families in rural Africa. When trees disappear because of drought or exploitation, this is usually followed by soil erosion, crop failure and the ensuing displacement of communities. TREE AID helps villagers in mali, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia make the best use of trees to generate food, housing, fuel, medicine and income for health care and schooling. The wonderful thing about trees is that they are infinitely flexible in the uses to which it can be put. Since 1987 TREE AID has helped 300,000 people plant 6.5 million trees which provide an alternative to both poverty and environmental destruction. Take an example - the fruit of the Shea tree can be used to produce shea butter which is used as a cooking oils, for candle making and as a waterproof waxing on cloth or wood. It also has medicinal properties and can be used on burns, eczema and as a sun block. We might know it better as Yoruba which is used in a lot of cosmetics. One tree can bring nutrition, business and healing to a community.
An arboretum is a wonderful place in which to meditate on the wisdom, balance and healing power found in the natural world and there for the use of us all. In the Anglican communion, the fifth mark of mission is commitment 'to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.' Supporting the planting of trees is one way to make this more than wishful thinking.