THE 

ARUSHA TIMES

 

ON THE WEB

 

 

 

ISSN 0856-9135;  No. 00210

March 2 - 8, 2002

arushatimeshdln.gif (998 bytes)

Chuwa wins environmental award during Olympic ceremonies

Sebastian Chuwa, an environmentalist who has long been
active in implementing educational and tree-planting programs for sustainable
development on Mt. Kilimanjaro, has received the "Spirit of the Land" award
during Olympic ceremonies in Salt Lake City, USA. This award, presented by the
Salt Lake Olympic Committee, was given to 10 US and 5 international recipients
for their work in promoting environmental educational efforts during the year
2001.

By Bette Stockbauer

Sebastian Chuwa, a Tanzanian botanist and environmentalist, has
been chosen by the Salt Lake Olympic Committee to receive the "Spirit of the
Land Award" honoring his work in environmental education. The award was
presented to ten US and five international recipients during Olympic Ceremonies
in Salt Lake City, Utah on Feb. 19.
 
 In 1994, the International Olympic Committee adopted environment
as the third principle of Olympism along with sport and culture. One of the
primary goals of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee has been to ensure the
protection of Utah's environment while staging the 2002 Games. The Spirit of the
Land program embodies a commitment to raise the general consciousness of its
guests from around the world about green practices, to leave a legacy of
environmental improvement and to honor individuals from around the world who
have made substantial educational efforts on behalf of the environment.
During the past ten years Mr. Chuwa has been active in
organizing communities on Mt. Kilimanjaro to institute programs which protect
the ecology of the mountain. The rich volcanic soil of Kilimanjaro makes it one
of Tanzania's most important agricultural areas. Runoff from its slopes supply a
large surrounding region with vital water for drinking, irrigation and
hydrological power.
 
Working through the local school system, Mr. Chuwa has
established 47 Malihai Clubs (youth conservation groups) which are teaching
students the importance of sound ecological practices and organizing them in
practical activities to help the environment. Each school group establishes a
tree nursery and raises seedlings which they replant in deforested areas which
need reclamation or distribute into the community to help raise the standard of
living for those who live on the mountain.
 
Each year these Clubs host a 5-day Environmental Day celebration
to raise environmental awareness on the mountain and to encourage replanting of
local species. Malihai Clubs on Mt. Kilimanjaro have replanted over 500,000
trees, many of them along the overused routes that backpackers use in climbing
the mountain. Mr. Chuwa is chairman of the Kilimanjaro Environmental
Conservation Management Trust Fund:
 
Mr. Chuwa has also co-founded the African Blackwood Conservation
Project (ABCP) "http://www.blackwoodconservation.org/"
along with a US team of woodworkers. This organization spearheads educational and replanting programs for African blackwood, an important species that is used
internationally in the manufacture of musical instruments and by the carving
cooperatives of eastern Africa. Because of over harvesting this wood is now
becoming threatened and several international groups are working towards
instituting programs for its sustainable use.
 
In 2001 Mr. Chuwa received a grant from the Charles A. and Anne
Morrow Lindbergh Foundation  which was targeted
at educational and tree planting programs for African blackwood.
 
Bette Stockbauer
Director/US Co-Coordinator
African Blackwood Conservation Project