Striding out for a green Ferncliffe

2010-03-08 00:00

FOR the past three years, A Rocha South Africa has partnered with the Msunduzi Municipality and other community organisations to plant over 1 000 trees in the Ferncliffe Nature Reserve during the Ferncliffe Green Challenge.

The eight-kilometre walk or run is part of A Rocha’s “Tshalan’imithi” (plant healing plants) programme — and previous events have seen pensioners, teachers, toddlers and pupils walk from the Cascades shopping centre to Ferncliffe and back. Participants also plant locally grown indigenous trees in a section of the reserve that is being transformed from pine cultivation back to indigenous forest. The holes for the trees are dug for the entrants by members of the Msunduzi conservation division.

Asked why the event is called a challenge, Allen Goddard, director for theology and citizenship for A Rocha South Africa, said: “The challenge is just to make the steep distance of four kilometres there and four kilometres back, without consuming carbonated or canned bevera­ges, or any form of ‘smart’ nutrition, all of which generate huge amounts of carbon emissions when they are manufactured.

“Because only natural fruit, tap water and home prepared foods are required to be consumed by entrants, the Ferncliffe Green Challenge is possibly the world’s one and only carbon banking community sports event. This means that over the next 20 years more carbon will be stored at Ferncliffe than was emitted into the atmosphere during the Challenge.”

Goddard said the 2010 event — which will take place on March 20, starting at 6.30 am at Cascades — is being sponsored by Matthew 25 v. 23 Trust in the United Kingdom, which is supplying 2 000 trees for 2 000 entrants.

He added: “… the Ferncliffe Green Challenge is a gentle reminder that the way sport is organised will need to transform rapidly if sport itself is going to be sustainable in the near future.”

For more information about the event and an entry form, click on the South Africa link at www.arocha.org. Alternatively, e-mail allen.goddard@arocha.org or telephone 033 345 8540 during office hours.

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