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Climate Urgency & Tree Planting in Kenya

National Ambitions, Carbon Offsetting, and Community-Led Initiatives

My research project will grapple with how tree planting is conceptualized and practiced in Kenya, by focusing on community-led tree planting initiatives; tree planting for carbon offsetting; and national ambitions to plant 15 billion trees by 2032. This inquiry will involve an exploration of different global and local narratives about, and motivations for, tree planting in connection to climate urgency. I will engage in a combination of digital ethnography and 9 months of in-person fieldwork in Kenya, primarily situated in Nairobi. My online ethnography will include a discourse analysis of media representations of Kenyan tree planting initiatives; navigation of Kenya’s tree planting cell phone app: Jazamiti; and tracing a carbon offsetting project from digital symbol to planted tree. My fieldwork in Kenya will focus on the tree planting efforts of local NGOs; preparations for and events surrounding Kenya’s National Tree Growing Day (13 November); and community tree planting engagement in Nairobi. By incorporating an online focus, and grounded, in-person ethnography, this research will take a deeper look at the interplay between tree planting as digitally represented and physically enacted.

Doctoral Candidate: Amber Caine

I am a PhD candidate at KU Leuven, focused on tree planting and climate urgency in urban Kenya, under the supervision of Prof. Katrien Pype (KU Leuven) and co-supervision of Prof. Cajetan Iheka (Yale University). My academic background is primarily in anthropology. I received my Bachelor of Social Science in Social Anthropology and Gender Studies from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, in 2014. More recently, I completed my Honour’s and Master’s degrees in Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2021 and 2023 respectively. My Honour’s research focused on microblogging South African mothers’ ‘public’ presentation of ‘private’ experiences. My Master’s research explored South African student narratives of remote university education during the COVID-19 pandemic, attuning to the lessons learnt through upheaval and adaptation. Following my interest in the dynamics between the "virtual" and the "actual", my PhD research will examine how tree planting - for environmental restoration and carbon offsetting - is both presented online and physically engaged in.

Meet The Team

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Amber Caine

Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, KU Leuven


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Katrien Pype

Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, KU Leuven

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Cajetan Iheka

PhD Candidate



Centre National de Coopération au Développement

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