In the early 1990s, Jeunesse Park recognised that the optimism of the post-apartheid era in South Africa would be undermined by the harsh realities of persistent poverty. Jeunesse also realised that unemployment, severe environmental degradation and a lack of awareness of sustainable natural resource management would be perpetuated by long years of segregation. Devoid of an apathetic stance, Jeunesse initiated Progreen cc with the intention of greening those areas neglected by apartheid and introducing permaculture as an essential development tool to address sustainable resource management, food security and environmental awaremess and education. In further expression of her vision, Jeunesse founded (and is still the CEO) Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) in 1990 as a vehicle with which to green South Africa and promote environmental education, awareness and food security. She developed FTFA as the first (and still only) national greening and permaculture organisation in South Africa that has distributed over 2.5 million trees and facilitated the creation of numerous permaculture food gardens. Jeunesse has been actively lobbying government to include these issues in the national agenda,has developed skills in many employees and community based educators and has run workshops for national, provincial and local government in greening and tree awareness. She has also networked nationally and internationally with countless people and organisations to make them aware of urban forestry, food security and greening issues nationwide. In recognition of the severity of climate change, Jeunesse launched the Carbon Standard in 2006 to make it easy and affordable for government, individuals, corporations, institutions and communities to offset carbon emissions and address climate change through the planting of trees in poor communities nationwide. In addition to sinking carbon these trees contribute to improved water, energy, soil and noise management, food security (fruit and nut trees), the enrichment of lives and the cultivation of healthier and more sustainable communities. Jeunesse and FTFA then launched the first carbon calculator in SA which was developed by PricewaterhouseCoopers using the global Greenhouse Gas Reporting Protocol with Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs as the Carbon Standard's legal advisor. The calculator (see www.trees.co.za) evaluates carbon emitted by a range of activities such as energy usage, land and air travel, paper usage and other carbon impacts, and calculates out how many trees one would need to plant to sink the carbon generated through the process of photosynthesis. Once the calculations are conducted, FTFA selects sites for the planting of trees through its Trees for Homes programme that is inundated with requests for fruit and indigenous trees from underserved communities. FTFA arranges the procurement, transport, delivery and planting of the trees with beneficiary communities, trains unemployed CBEs and distributes information on tree planting and maintenance. After distribution events CBEs assist their neighbours to plant the trees properly and assist FTFA with assessments on their progress over six months. The Carbon Standard marketing, handled by Interactive Africa, provides a powerful way for contributors to increase their marketing and commitment to climate change and sustainable development, and creates political and social awareness of how to address the effects of climate change on communities and the environment. Without the passion, commitment and dedication of Jeunesse Park, such a successful programme and organisation would not have been made possible. I believe that Jeunesse needs recognition for her efforts in addressing climate change and spreading environmental awareness and the need and tools to preserve our natural resources.
Jeunesse Park PO Box 2035 Gallo Manor Gauteng Johannesburg 2052 'South Africa '