The Coptic Orthodox Church announced a tree-planting competition on Saturday 25 December, as an initiative to reduce the impact of climate change in Egypt. The initiative is directed at all of Egypt’s churches in different governorates and dioceses.
The competition stipulates several rules, including planting the trees inside the church area or in the area surrounding it, planting at least 1,000 trees per diocese, in addition to taking before and after pictures, along with the date of planting. The competition also indicated a preference to planting olive, pomegranate, or berry trees.
Winners will be chosen based on the amount of trees planted, the number of trees still in the process, as well as the overall aesthetic look of the place.
Each diocese is expected to submit a report, signed by the authorized bishop and the priest of each church, to the Papal Residence by October 2022.
Upon announcing the results in November 2022, prizes will be given to the top 12. The prizes begin from EGP 25,000 to EGP 100,000 ($US 1,591 to 6,300) as the highest prize amount.
According to the church’s official statement, the initiative supports the church’s commitment to tackle climate change in line with governmental efforts. Despite the Ministry of Environment’s efforts to multiply the plantation of trees across Cairo, as well as different cities, in order to lessen air pollution – Egypt’s trees remain notoriously on the brink of extinction.
Last year, the cutting of trees in the Maadi and Heliopolis districts, as a result of a shift in infrastructural reforms, prompted an outcry on social media. Nonetheless, various institutions, such as schools, universities and community clubs have strived towards the protection of greenery.
In August 2019, Egypt announced that it will be home for Africa’s first vertical forest in its New Administrative Capital. And, in November 2021, Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh was selected to host the 27th session of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27).
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