Greenpop is a social enterprise that combats deforestation by organizing community-based tree planting projects, green action events, educational workshops, social media campaigns and green voluntourism. Based on the idea that sustainability can be fun and empowering for communities, Greenpop started in September 2010 and has since planted over 17,000 trees in over 200 beneficiary schools, crèches, old-age homes and community centers as well as deforested areas in Southern Africa. This map shows the extent of their work.
In July 2012, Greenpop rolled out its creative approach to tackling deforestation to other parts of Africa by launching a new initiative, Trees for Zambia. Zambia has seen rampant deforestation in recent decades, mainly as a result of bad land management, slash and burn farming methods, unsustainable logging and tree cutting for charcoal. According to the UN-REDD programme, the country now has approximately 50 million hectares of forest, but suffers an estimated deforestation rate of 250,000 to 300,000 hectares per year.
Part of the challenge is raising awareness of this problem inside the country. According to Anne Masinja, Director of the Zambian Forestry Department: “It is a pity that most of the people do not realise the harm they are causing to the environment due to careless cutting of trees “we need to do something to stop this.”
To help raise awareness and kick-start community action, Greepop worked in partnership with local authorities and a range of NGOs, organizing 200 volunteers from both Zambia and around the world in a mass reforestation event in Livingstone. Over three weeks, the group planted 4135 trees and established monitoring systems to assure their survival. In addition, they made solar stoves for residents and set up workshops at schools and with local farmers on sustainable living and conservation issues. In July of this year, Greenpop returns to Zambia to host a second reforestation event with the aim to plant 5000 trees and run conservation workshops and sustainability education for the surrounding communities and volunteers.
Greenpop uses a range of attractive programs to support this good work. Individuals and groups can donate trees or give their time by taking part in planting days. Companies can gift trees to support sustainability or become partners or sponsors of Greenpop. Company employees can get involved directly by volunteering on planting days and tour operators and companies with high travel miles can offset carbon emissions by signing up to Greenpop’s convenient Trees for Travel scheme. Greenpop also hosts a range of outreach events including yoga in the park, musical performances and green bicycle rides to raise funds, boost environmental awareness and draw people into activism.
For more on this year’s Trees for Zambia event, including how to take part, go to the Greenpops website.