Valter’s tree defends clean air in Sarajevo

Posted February 17, 2022

TVOJCO2.BA AS A SYNERGY OF INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE ACTION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE

Selma Smajkić with family members, at park near the Railway Station, Sarajevo (Photo: UNDP)

In the park near the Sarajevo Railway Station, Selma came to attend an ash planting that her family bought as a gift to the youngest member of her family.

Sarajevo’s Smajkić family decided to plant a tree in the city park, for a boy named Valter. They want their latest family member, with Sarajevo roots and a name that symbolically connects him to Sarajevo, currently with an address in Sweden, to grow together with “his” tree.

We see this as a socially beneficial action where we strive to improve the quality of life here, our forever reminder of the occasion of our gathering – this is a beautiful gift for a boy originally from Sarajevo. His name is Valter Dedović and he lives in Sweden. The very location of the Railway Station, the possibility of traveling – going and returning to Sarajevo, has a special meaning for us,” says Smajkić.

The TvoCO2.ba platform was created by UNDP in Bosnia and Herzegovina as an incentive to bring together individuals and companies in the fight against climate change and air pollution in our country. The platform also makes tree seedlings more accessible for online purchase, through the country’s forestry and utility companies offering them through online shopping, as well as a professional planting service and selection of planting sites across the country.

For most citizens, parks are an important segment of a healthy life, and a frequent destination for walks or leisure.

The lack of green areas changes urban climate and negatively affects the quality of life. Therefore, the preservation and protection of trees in urban areas has a positive impact not only on air quality and impacts of climate change, but also contributes to the overall well-being of residents. 

Park near the Railway station, Sarajevo (Photo: UNDP)

Thanks to a diverse and compelling catalogue of seedlings, as well as the ease of buying and “planting” trees from the comfort of own home or office, the involvement of citizens in the first planting campaign through the platform TvojCO2.ba in the fall of 2021 exceeded the expectations. For less than the price of one coffee, soda or public transportation, it is now possible to buy seedlings of black or white pine, oak, maple, spruce and important species for our forest ecosystems and park areas.

Citizens are motivated by TvojCO2 mission for a range of reasons.

Lejla Ibrahimpašić, one of the buyers of seedlings on the platform, sees the relation towards nature as a parameter in one’s self-care.

Lejla Ibrahimpašić, Valter Perić Park, Sarajevo (Photo: UNDP)

“I loved the idea – from the comfort of your home, you open and surf the net, pick a seedling and the rest is taken care of by professionals. They connect and get together, determine the location, they know where it is best to plant and I really liked that whole idea. I wanted the planting to be in a location close to work or home, somewhere where I was moving, so I could also follow the growth of this plant and maintain it as much as I could. I think that such a project is very, very important, and I would like as many citizens as possible to get involved, for this is very much needed in today’s world and is one of the best ways to fight this pollution,” says Ibrahimpašić.

TvojCO2.ba has shown that direct engagement is indeed possible, simple and easy.

Valter Perić Park, Sarajevo (Photo: UNDP)

TvojCO2.ba platform for the first time brought together forestry and utility companies throughout BiH and linked citizens and the private sector – there were over 17,000 individual purchases of seedlings across the country done via the platform during the autumn planting campaign, and the project grew into a mission that seriously changes awareness about environment and climate change and the importance of personal activism. Every spring and autumn the website www.tvojco2.ba will offer possibilities to continue buying and planting trees, so all those who missed to take part this fall, can now use their opportunity already in the spring of 2022.

Borjana Mumin is another Sarajevan, delighted with the idea, who instantly decided to take part.

Borjana Mumin, National Minorities Park, Sarajevo (Photo: UNDP)

It was so great to hear that something like this exists here in Sarajevo, that we as individuals can finally give our contribution.… I wanted this very site between Socijalno and Pofalići neighbourhood to become greener, as this is where I went to kindergarten, and used to play here when I was little. This Japanese cherry tree craves loads of sunlight throughout the day and the location was therefore perfect, and in part I will take care of it too. Once it blossoms, you will probably find me here someday drinking coffee under it,” said Mumin.

Despite all the negative impacts on the quality of forests and urban green areas in BiH, such activities show that citizens throughout BiH share the same desires when it comes to quality of life and health, are equally ready to fight for them and take responsibility for climate change and work to reduce the negative impacts when given the opportunity.

National Minorities Park, Sarajevo (Photo: UNDP)

Clearly, TvojCO2 platform has helped many citizens decide to engage in greening activities, but also companies, and all are unison in assessing its value in the segment of individual activism.

UNDP partners in BiH in the work of the platform TvojCO2.ba are: Cantonal Public Utility Company Park d.o.o. Sarajevo, Public Company Forest and Business Association of Zenica-Doboj Canton d.o.o Zavidovići, Cantonal Public Company for State Forest Management Sarajevo Forests, Centre for Seed and Nursery Production Doboj, Forestry Prenj d.d. Konjic, Tamaris Company d.o.o. Banja Luka for the City Administration of the City of Banja Luka and the Trebinje Karst Management Centre.