Greenpop takes green seriously. In fact, Greenpop personifies Green Mind, Green living Green doing. It all started when founder and TreeEO Misha Teasdale, after returning from his travels, wanted to contribute to sustaining the environment. He along with 9 friends had a goal to plant a 1000 trees during September in the under greened townships of Cape Town.
They returned to their day jobs after the successful completion of the project. They were however inundated with the request for trees. They realized the need for an organization to connect people to one another and most of all to the earth; consequently Greenpop was founded.
Today they are living that reality by planting trees via various projects and raising green awareness and interest through green festivals and workshops. One such project is the Eden Regeneration Project. The Eden District is situated in the Garden Route near Knysna. In June 2017 this area was hit by devastating wildfires. The extremity of the fires was exacerbated by the uncontrolled spread of alien plant species in the area.
The impact of these fires has been immense on a social and environmental level. The general consensus is that long-term efforts need to be focused on regeneration through the planting of indigenous trees, introducing ecosystem services, removing alien vegetation and catchment management. The socio-ecological effects and challenges presented by the Eden fires are complex.
Greenpop is launching ongoing environmental work in the region. They will plant indigenous trees, assist with alien clearing, build with eco-bricks, brighten up schools with environmental murals and spread education. These programmes aim to adapt in response to learnings from the prior years, the context, multiple stakeholders and ongoing education. This year is the first year of working in the Eden area and they hope to gain knowledge and support in the programmes they are embarking upon. The aim is to create sustainable programmes with robust monitoring and evaluation so that continuing projects are ensured; hence the festival.
The Festival ‘s programme, focused on inspiring social and personal sustainable change through incorporating eco-education in resource management, recycling and upcycling; eco-system rehabilitation through reforestation, alien clearing and urban greening. The festival takes place over the course of three weeks. They plant trees, rehabilitate eco systems, paint eco murals, attend sustainability workshops and celebrate with live music. The first two weeks were geared towards high school students from across the country. The third week hosted an all –ages programme.
Furthermore they planted at eight urban sites using more established trees to create windbreaks and buffer zones. They also cleared alien vegetation and planted a total of 4303 indigenous trees of more than 20 species during the course of the festival. In addition to this the environmental art initiative also involves various local child-care organisations and projects. This was done by involving the local disadvantaged youth to help beautify this space and connect with their community.
They had three amazing beach clean-ups, with a silent dance party at the final clean-up. These clean-ups served to aid the collection of plastic pollution on local beaches as well as raising awareness for the issue amongst festival attendees and community members. Eco-brick Exchange made over 370 Eco-bricks during the festival.
In similar vein all waste on site was recycled, composted or eco-bricked. Showers were run on a natural grey water collection system; this drastically reduced the festival’s water consumption. Various workshops were hosted throughout the festival. These include Introductions to Permaculture, Beekeeping, Natural Building, Eco-Enterprise, Mycology Cultivation, Mindfulness, Forest Ecology and a Guitar workshop. Open days encouraged members of the public to join the Festival free of charge in exchange for participation in these various projects and beach clean-ups.
It’s plain to see why Greenpop is an award-winning non-profit organisation today. This was all inspired by a vision of a world where people and nature live in harmony; by planting trees, creating green communities and empower environmental stewards across southern Africa. In turn they have inspired over 132 000 budding eco-heroes at schools and other urban sites as well as forests and farms across Sub –Saharan Africa.
“The conservation or restoring of a natural ecosystem is an incredible symbol of hope. It symbolizes a belief in the future, a positive wish for our communities and care for our planet. It brings people together – with each other and Mother Nature. It is a living, breathing gift to the generations to come. As useful indigenous species and fruit trees can provide produce that can be used in feeding schemes or sold by schools and communities. Indigenous trees and vegetation can increase property values and can provide natural air conditioning for homes and classrooms.
Put simply biodiversity promotes life. Not only do functioning ecosystems produce oxygenand sequester carbon dioxide. They also provide homes for animals, recharge groundwater, replace soil nitrates and prevent erosion. The addition of indigenous vegetation to any environment will have countless benefits.”
Join Greenpop in the Treevolution. Treet yourself by becoming involved in decreasing our carbon footprint. Adjust to a lifestyle that reduces the damage done to our environment. We will no doubt reap the treemendeous benefits by changing our everyday way of life. Benefits such as a healthier lifestyle that encourages less pollution, better health, as well as cost effectiveness. Let’s aim to adapt our daily motto to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Source: Greenpop Website