As a new year approached I found myself wondering what we could do to really make a difference.
Babies are born and birth remains one of the most incredible miracle to us as we look in wonder upon a newborn baby taking it’s first breath.
So much hope, so many dreams as it is born into this beautiful world of ours.
Moving forward we are faced with crises of epic proportion as we see the reality of global warming affecting our planet. Pollution has spread far and wide affecting our world, affecting the world our children and their children are born into.
It is our duty to do what we can to protect this green earth, to do what we can to ensure the beauty so our children’s children can also benefit. It is their legacy and we have a responsibility.

I was recently introduced to a very motivational sports guru via Youtube – Sr Dave Brailsford who talks about the 1% factor. In a nutshell he tells us how he believes that small things can make all the difference as the small things result ultimately in achieving a goal.
“You can walk a 1000 miles but you can only do it one step at a time and finally you will reach your destination”

So as 2019 arrived I was asking myself what can we do as a practice to make a difference. How can we get involved by doing just a small thing which can gain momentum and ultimately end up as a ‘big’ things which can impact many people?
We are in the very fortunate position to be able to reach so very many people so there had to be something unique, creative and also fun that we could take on as a practice.



Around mid 2018 my husband and daughter had started a “little” hobbie growing this cute succulent plant called a Spekboom, little did I know where this would lead at the time. For those of you who haven’t been introduced to this lovely little fellow, the Spekboom has so many exceptional qualities including:

  • It is a proudly South African tree.
  • It’s evergreen, hardy and grows almost anywhere requiring very little water.
  • It can grow in a pot, as a bonsai or in the garden (or even on a hill in the middle of know where)
  • It can live for up to 200 years.
  • The roots compact soil effectively helping prevent soil erosion.
  • It is edible…. has a slightly lemony taste and great to be enjoyed on hike to quench thirst or even treat dehydration.
  • It can be used to enhance breastmilk supplies of a lactating mum.
  • Crushed leaves can be used to sooth burns as well as blisters.
  • It has antiseptic properties so useful for sore throats as well as pimples/skin rashes.

The Spekboom’s most important claim to fame though is that this gorgeous tree is one of the most effective Carbon sequestrators (absorbers) in the world – hector per hector it is more effective than the amazon rain forest at removing carbon dioxide from the air. (Carbon Sponge)

The Spekboom’s also known as the Miracle Tree or The Tree of Life. Info obtained from: (

Mid January, when I returned from my 6 week sabbatical in the Eastern Cape I returned to a whole nursery of tiny little Spekboom trees that had been lovingly hand grown and nurtured from cuttings obtained from the birth house in Pretoria as well as Kenton on Sea, in the Eastern Cape.

My husband and daughter didn’t really have a plan other than cultivating these little babies with a strong feeling that something big would happen with them. Suddenly it hit me, this brilliant and very creative idea of giving each baby born at our practice their very first Tree of Life. What a beautiful and original way for us to introduce our newborn babies (via their parents) to environmental awareness, action and caring from the moment of birth by gifting them with their very own, very first Tree of Life, a home grown baby Spekboom aka Spekkie.

As most people are aware, that each baby born will have a huge impact on the carbon footprint through their lifetime. How perfect then to gift that baby with a tree; a little Spekboom gift of life to a baby, another gift of life. The idea is to share awareness with the parents in the hope that they will then care enough to take action and ensure that as their children grow up they are fully aware of the environmental issues and they are raised to take action through caring enough about the environment. It would be such a joy to see this idea payed forward with other creative idea’s too and see the momentum exponentially growing. I believe this is a huge and exciting opportunity.

We also really do hope our little Spekkie babies are planted and nurtured once gifted ensuring another tree, a very valuable tree to the environment has been planted. This project gained even more momentum as during my investigative process I came across Samara Private Reserve in the Eastern Cape who have a lovely Environmental Initiative project that they are busy with. They are busy Rewilding the wilds by planting Spekboom trees in the area’s that have been damaged. As these Spekbooms are great at preventing soil erosion the more they plant the better for that specific area in the Eastern Cape.
Their initiative also includes inviting people to share their email, name and date of birth with them so they can send environmental awareness newsletters out and then on your birthday
they plant a Spekboom in your name.


It is my hope that in the future we can link up and form a partnership of some sort. The idea is that (with your consent) we will send your email addresses plus your newborn’s date
of birth and name so your baby will not only have 1 but 2 trees planted in honour of his/her earth day. One at your home and the other in the Karoo. For planting and gifting we use 100% recycled goods as containers as well as baby notification cards etc. Each Spekkie has a message on it explaining what our aim is and the significance of caring for the environment.

All our staff members are very excited about this project and each person has taken on a specific role in our project. So far we have given out 6 of our little Spekkies; our very first one was gifted to a couple who had a beautiful homebirth and they were going to plant their Spekboom along with baby’s placenta which was really very special.

We are very excited about the year ahead and would love to invite you to make contact and share any idea’s or get involved. Let’s work together to ensure our children have a green earth to be proud of.

Heather Pieterse