The European Fund for the Balkans (EFB) is launching its “Trees of Friendship” initiative which will involve planting of 400 trees in all the capitals of the region. The idea behind it is to compensate the damage caused by the CO2 emissions which occurred due to EFB’s business travel in 2019. The goal of this action is to prove that, by taking individual responsibility, one can make a difference on local and regional level, as well.
The trees will be planted simultaneously, on October 30th, in Belgrade, Skopje, Pristina, Tirana, Podgorica and Sarajevo, with numerous local partners having announced their volunteer and logistic support. On “home turf”, representatives of associations Pravo na grad (Right to the City), Šuma peva (The Forest Sings) and Ulice za bicikliste (Streets for Cyclists) will be joining the action.
“This event is primarily intended to raise the regional citizens’ awareness about the consequences of their individual actions on environmental pollution. We are very pleased to have established cooperation with relevant local-level partners in pursuing this issue“, explains Aleksandra Tomanić, EFB Executive Director.
The ongoing pandemic-related circumstances have prevented us from involving the citizens in this activity, as it was initially planned, but the main message remains, namely the importance of every individual’s decisions, such as the choice of an environmentally conscious means of transportation, for the sake of helping oneself and others - adds Katarina Tadić, EFB Program Manager.
Apart from the symbolic and motivational significance of this planting event, the organizers have decided to undertake it to also raise awareness about the increasingly common air pollution in regional countries:
“Last year, the cities in the region have repeatedly occupied the top positions of the lists of the world’s most polluted cities, and therefore it is important to take joint and concrete steps towards preventing this from repeating. Tree planting is one of the simplest and most important steps in this direction”, Tadić emphasizes.
A special significance of the “Tree of Friendship“ action is joint regional connecting and acting by the organizations dealing with eco-activism, with much experience working in local communities: Za čisto i lijepo Sarajevo (For Clean and Pretty Sarajevo) from Sarajevo, Environmental Territorial Management Institute from Tirana, Sbunker from Pristina, Skopje Smog Alarm, Air Care and Treebank from Skopje, OZON from Podgorica, and Right to the City, The Forest Sings and Streets for Cyclists from Belgrade.