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Climate change conference delegates help students at the Presbyterian School of Kabuga in Rwanda plant trees


A recent video shows how students are working to protect their surroundings with help from their visitors

February 11, 2023

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The visit by delegates representing the All Africa Council of Churches was memorable for students at the Presbyterian School of Kabuga in Rwanda. (Contributed photo)

In November, students attending the Presbyterian School of Kabuga in Rwanda were treated to a visit from delegates representing the All Africa Conference of Churches, who took time during a conference on climate change to meet with the students and plant trees with them.

In a recent video (click on the link above) featuring the Rev. Dr. Ndayizeye Munyansanga Olivier, a lecturer on the faculty of theology and religious studies at the Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences in Butare, Rwanda, students in Kabuga are depicted interacting with the visitors and planting trees with them.

“We need individual and global efforts to tackle this climate change crisis head-on,” Olivier says during the video, made following the Nov. 24 visit and posted on the Facebook page of Presbyterian World Mission. “One way is education, which may be one of our greatest weapons for fighting climate change.”

Olivier called the visit “a time for some church leaders to transmit their ethical values of fighting against climate change, taking care of nature and preserving long life to the coming generations.”

It was also “a way to raise awareness for limiting global warming as it was adopted in the 2015 Paris Agreement. The world continues to get warmer at an alarming rate,” Olivier says, “putting almost every child at risk of more frequent and destructive climate calamities.”

Planting trees at the Presbyterian School of Kabuga in Rwanda reminded students how much they can do to care for Creation. (Contributed photo)

“The action of planting trees is one of the smallest and most effective actions to maintain the ecosystem and tackle climate change,” Olivier says. “Trees can handle the weather, metabolize nutrition from the soil and air and cooperate with the surrounding environment.”

“A tree is not just a tree,” Olivier says. “It is alive precisely because it’s connected to the Earth, to life and to nature, which is the expression of universal love in this world.”

Even as humble saplings, trees play a key role in our well-being, according to Olivier.

“Trees have to restore the balance within our human society and the rest of the natural world for assuring that future generations will be safe,” Olivier says. “Restoring at least a small part of the lost vegetation … is an environmentally friendly way to combat dangerous climate change.”

According to Olivier, research shows that a 20-minute walk in the woods can reduce a person’s blood pressure and blood sugar levels without medication. “Children who like to play under the trees have highly developed mental capabilities,” Olivier says, “and they are transformed into experts of innovation.”

To learn more about the Presbyterian School of Kabuga (PSK) in Rwanda, email the Rev. Paula Cooper, Presbyterian World Mission’s regional liaison for East Central Africa. PIASS and PSK are ministries of the Presbyterian Church in Rwanda (EPR), the PC(USA)’s global partner.

Mike Ferguson, Editor, Presbyterian News Service

Today’s Focus: Presbyterian School of Kabuga in Rwanda plant trees

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Jashalund Royston, Research Analyst II, Research Services, Administrative Services Group (A Corp)
Cindy Rubin, Administrative Assistant, Ministry Engagement & Support, Administrative Services Group (A Corp)

Let us pray

Dear God, we praise you and give thanks for all that you have given us. May we share our abundance with others in your mission to this multicultural world. May we welcome and celebrate your rich diversity. Amen.

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