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Kenya’s green revolution: Media takes centre stage in national tree planting

By Lucy Mwangi

In a display of environmental commitment, President William Ruto, flanked by First Lady Rachel Ruto, spearheaded Kenya’s eco-friendly future on November 13, 2023. The National Tree Planting Day unfolded at Kiu wetland in Makindu, Makueni county, where the President oversaw the planting of 150,000 trees. This event marks a giant leap towards Kenya’s goal of planting 15 billion trees within the coming decade.

The atmosphere at Kiu wetland was charged with positive energy as governors and Cabinet secretaries, donned in eco-friendly regalia, joined hands in sowing the seeds of change. Their efforts resonated with the overarching objective of the Kenya Landscape and Ecosystem Restoration Programme, turning the event into a symphony of commitment to sustainable environmental practices and the preservation of the nation’s natural heritage.

As the sun set, the digital landscape lit up with enthusiasm for #TreePlantingDay. Social media platforms buzzed with users sharing their tree planting efforts. The hashtag secured its reign at the top spot for over nine hours, a testament to the nation’s collective enthusiasm for a greener tomorrow.

Simultaneously, #JazaMiti, translating to “Fill with Trees” in Kiswahili, gained traction in the digital space, becoming a rallying cry for environmental advocates, influencers, and ordinary citizens alike. The hashtag not only showcased the diverse linguistic tapestry of Kenya but also underscored the universal language of environmental consciousness.

The media played a pivotal role in amplifying the impact of this historic day. Television channels broadcasted live coverage of the President and First Lady planting trees, and newspapers featured photos of the event. Radio stations aired interviews with environmental experts, providing listeners with valuable insights into the significance of the National Tree Planting Day.

But it wasn’t just the traditional media outlets stealing the spotlight. The digital realm, with its real-time updates and interactive features, became a hub for environmental advocacy. Influencers encouraged their followers to join the green revolution, and memes added a touch of humour to the serious business of saving the Planet.

Beyond the confines of screens and airwaves, citizens embraced the call to action with enthusiasm. Corporations, spurred by corporate social responsibility, pledged land for afforestation. The streets were abuzz with conversations about sustainable living, making environmental consciousness the new social currency.

In the wake of this media-fuelled eco-revolution, the National Tree Planting Day evolved into more than a symbolic gesture. It became a rallying point for a nation determined to combat climate change and preserve its natural splendour. As Kenya ventures into a greener future, the role of media in disseminating this message cannot be overstated. The seeds of change have been sown, and the media is watering them with the waters of awareness, ensuring that the roots of a sustainable tomorrow run deep in the soil of our collective consciousness.

The writer is research officer at Media Council of Kenya

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