11-year-old has planted over 5000 Spekboom plants to save our planet!!!

The South African tween has planted over 5000 plants since he started his ‘Spekboom Initiative Against Global Warming’ and he isn’t planning on stopping anytime soon.


KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (7 February 2020) – An 11-year-old South African had a dream to fight global warming and make our country a healthier place to live in… so he planted over 5000 Spekbooms!

And that is only the beginning!

Chris-Tiaan Nortjié, age 11, is working to educate as many people as possible about the benefits of the Spekboom. The tween has planted over 5000 plants since he started his ‘Spekboom Initiative Against Global Warming’ in September 2019 and he isn’t planning on stopping anytime soon.

“Hectare for hectare, Spekboom thicket is ten times more effective than the Amazon rainforest at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. One hectare of Spekboom can sequester between 4 and 10 tonnes of carbon per year. This makes it a powerful tool in the fight against climate change and the move towards a zero-carbon world.” 

And South Africans have taken it one step further by joining the Spekboom Challenge: A social media drive, motivating all South Africans to plant at least 10 Spekbome each, in 2020.

Chris-Tiaan has already planted over 5000 Spekbooms, but it all started during his December school holidays when he decided to take part in the challenge and planted 750 spekbooms which left many people inspired and asking what his story is?

Well, Chris-Tiaan is being raised by his grandparents, who firmly believe in raising him to think he can make a difference. Chris-Tiaan was born with Autism and suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, but he calls it “awesomenism” as he says it is his super-power.

Sadly, Chris-Tiaan’s mother passed away in 2017 due to illness. He has faced many challenges since then, but by focussing on benefitting South Africa, he is able to deal with every challenge.

Charlotte Coetzee, Chris-Tiaan’s grandmother, says he started to show an interest in her succulents which bloomed into a passion for preventing global warming.

“This little child has been through extremely heartbreaking circumstances with his mom’s illness and passing in December 2017 but has conquered it all and lives an amazingly full life of giving and sharing. Everyone who meets Chris-Tiaan can witness how this child has impacted their lives, including ours! His positivity and bravery, despite his many challenges, have inspired me to keep on going, to try harder and never to give up.

He has since been living with us and we, Johan and I, are raising him as our son, making him believe that there is no limit to his abilities, inspiring him to excel and grow and educating him to become the best version of his own self. We believe in targeting, inspiring, educating and mobilising the youth of our country; we can make a difference to save our planet.”

Once Chris-Tiaan learned everything he could, he realised he wanted to teach other children too. Together with his grandmother, they made up an educational pamphlet which they hope to distribute to various schools.

Coetzee has called upon South Africa to support Chris-Tiaan’s initiative by either buying lots of Spekboom from him or donating to his BackaBuddy campaign.

11-year-old has planted over 5000 Spekboom plants to save our planet!!!

All your support enables him to continue paying forward and reach his goals:

  • To procure more mother Spekboom plants.
  • Pot 12 000 plants every year of his life.
  • Hand out 12 000 cuttings as a paying forward gesture.
  • Launching a major social media campaign to raise awareness of this amazing plant and its potential effect on global warming.
  • Educate all South Africans about using this plant as gifts instead of commercial gifts and flowers – because it keeps on giving for up to 200 years.
  • We are planning to hand out reading and plant material at Special Events where 1000’s of people are gathered. We already got 6000 pamphlets printed.
  • We also plan, as soon as enough funds are available, to visit 5 schools per week, 300 per year to educate scholars about the superpowers of the Spekboom and promote the planting of Spekboom at all schools.

To follow Chris-Tiaan’s journey or learn more about his Spekboom initiative, click here!

11-year-old has planted over 5000 Spekboom plants to save our planet!!!

Sources: Chris-Tiaan Nortjié
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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