From Noah Ebije, KadunaIn its efforts to join in mitigating the effect of climate change and other environmental issues, The United Church of Christ in Nigeria, known as HEKAN has commenced planting of 500 economic trees, among other trees.The trees were planted at the church headquarters’ permanent site located at Ungwan Doma, along Kaduna-Abuja highway.The president of the church, Rev. Dr. Amos Kiri who led other clerics, church members including children during the exercise, said that climate change is real and humanity must rise up to mitigate its impact or perish.He noted that the trees would also be planted in all the district and local parishes under the church and the church will organise seminars on deforestation and climate change to inculcate a culture of tree planning among members.Dr. Kiri added that the world is currently experiencing devastating flood and desert encroachment among other hazards, which he attributed to climate change and the activities of man.He noted that in Africa, climate change affects forestry due to erosion and excessive wind, thereby resulting in decline in forest produce such as wood and cane.“It leads to reduction in forestry produce and low income, as well as an increase in the costs of building, furniture materials and other items‘Tree planting is seen as one of the most effective tools to combat climate crisis and restore biodiversity“It is also natural carbon storage to reduce emissions, harm on human life, ecosystem and it also provides shelter, cover to animals as well as food, medicine to mankind and beautify the environment.“This is why the HEKAN Church commenced planting of 500 tress to save the earth.“People especially in Africa fall trees indiscriminately, burn bushes at the slightest excuses, build houses on waterways, dump refuse anywhere including valleys, without considering its negative consequences.“Such actions expose us to all kinds of climate change related hazards including death,” he said.The Cleric cited Genesis chapter 2, verse 9: “Out of the ground the Lord God caused every tree to grow that is pleasing to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”Reverend Kiri explained that God’s love for nature is supposed to reflect in humanity.He said that God has equally given mankind the responsibility to care for his creation and nurture them to flourish and not to destroy them under any guise.The HEKAN number one cleric pointed out that apart serving as food and medicine to mankind, trees provide fresh air to the environment, protect people’s homes from hazardous wind, and beautify the environment.“They also help in maintaining biodiversity by providing shelter for ground animals and home to birds of all kinds, thereby,making the environment rich and beautiful for the benefit of man,” he said.The Reverend also said that the tree planting drive was also organised to teach children and young persons the importance of planting and caring for trees.“The Bible says: “Train the child in the way he shall grow such that when he grows old, he will not depart from it”.“The children need to understand the importance of planting and nurturing trees as well as the dangers of falling trees indiscriminately without replacing them.“This is why they are all here to also participate in the exercise, so that it will build the culture of love and care for trees and the environment,” he said.One of the children, Filibus Bulus, 13, could not hide his excitement after planting a tree, saying, “I feel so happy that I finally have the opportunity to plant a tree.“We need the trees not only to beautify our environment, but also to protect us from other challenges like windstorms and desertification, including erosion,” the young lad said.While performing the tree planting exercise one after the other, the Vice President of HEKAN, Rev. Emmanuel T. Nama, HEKAN General Secretary Rev. Musa S. Yahaya and wife of the HEKAN President, Mrs. Elsie Amos Kiri thanked God for the privilege to be part of the exercise and prayed God to bless the trees to grow and become a blessing to the church and host community.They also enjoined the younger generation to imbibe the habit of tree planting to save their communities and the earth at large.Members of the HEKAN Boys/Girls Brigade, Sunday School Pupils and teachers, clerics within Kaduna metropolis, the aged and a four-year old Lisa Luka, participated in the tree planting exercise.