Greenpop. – It’s always a pleasure to write about the things I love. Greenpop, as my regular readers will know, is one of them. Here is the article I did on the Tangible Magic of Trees, for Traveller 24.
‘The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit’. Nelson Henderson
For a couple of years now I’ve been a loyal supporter of Greenpop and the work that they do. Joining them on a Harvest of Hope plant day in Khayelitsha, for a weekend at the Platbos Friends Festival in the Overberg and for ten days on their Zambia Festival of Action campaign last year transformed that loyalty into a complete love and respect.
A non-profit initiative based in Cape Town, Greenpop have made it their mission to encourage a green and sustainable way of life. To use their words they hope to inspire a greener, more conscious, inclusive movement through tree planting projects, green events, education, social media, voluntourism and by encouraging people to start doing. With their incredible team they’re achieving all this and then some.
The idea took off and after the initial month it had become clear that there was a need to keep the momentum going. Together with the extraordinary talents of Lauren and Jeremy, this dynamic team turned an idea into something that is ever growing. Like the trees they plant.
Why trees you ask. Simply put trees promote life. They increase biodiversity and some fix nitrates in the soil making it more fertile. Urban tree planting improves pride of place. Trees provide healthy and beautiful places for children to play and learn. Food forests provide fruit to eat and they improve an area’s water quality. They also offer shade and a sense of dignity.
To date Greenpop have planted 48008 trees in 344 locations with 3778 volunteers over a period of four years; impressive figures that don’t speak of the fun had or the thousands that have benefitted.
There are many ways to get involved include joining the Platbos Family and Friend’s Fest in mid May where the weekends offer a variety of activities, camping in a beautiful forest and planting trees in effective teams. The family fest has special activities and planting for children.
When I joined we ate, laughed, told ghost stories, learnt about trees, did yoga, sang around the fire and planted thousands of indigenous trees that will hopefully grow to be hundreds of years old. Most of all we created a bubble of hope that I’ve never looked back from.
You could opt to join Greenpop at the Zambia Festival of Action in June-July for one to three weeks. Zambia has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world and since 2012 they have been involved in ongoing tree planting and eco-projects around Livingstone in partnership with environmental activist and Greenpop Director Benjamin Mibenge, or Uncle Benjo as he is fondly known.
Zambia offers a wonderful opportunity to get involved in numerous side projects offered in conjunction with the tree planting and teaches much about alternate energy sources. On the one weekend they hold Earth Fest Africa, a collaboration of musicians, artists and active citizens coming together to celebrate the planet with the best in southern African music, an extraordinary experience to be had under an African sky.
Greenpop do offer long term volunteering and interning prospects where you can gain hands-on experience working for social enterprises involved in urban greening, reforestation and eco-education projects as part of a passionate team of good people.
For group and open plant days they’ve set aside 16 June, 18 July and 24 September this year, but others can be arranged on request.
If personally joining the planting isn’t possible but you still want to be involved, you have the option of gifting a tree for only R120.00. Gift certificates are issued and GPS co-ordinates provided so that you know exactly where your tree is growing, a lovely touch.
There something terribly feel good about getting your hands dirty and the act of connecting with the soil. Compacting the ground around a baby tree, watering and nurturing it, giving it some love, making sure it has the best start. It’s even been scientifically proven to make you happy. I can’t think of a more tangible happiness…’
Read the full article first here.
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For more on my time and work with Greenpop, see here.
Top pic credit to the remarkable Sarah Isaacs.