Greenpop Festival – a festival of hope

dsc_0288Every year Greenpop, a Cape Town-based tree-planting and eco-education organisation, hosts a three-week tree-planting and sustainability education Festival of Action in Livingstone, Zambia, that offers participants the chance to secure a discounted or free ticket to the event by raising funds for trees.

This year, 63 Trees for Fees activists have so far raised funds for more than 1700 trees. Many are also going to extraordinary lengths for their campaigns: Jason Ruger is cycling 3000km from Cape Town to Zambia to raise awareness, while others have started YouTube channels and blogs, and hosted green events. Not only will Greenpop use the funds to plant trees across Southern Africa, but for every tree raised activists will also get a discount on their Zambia Festival of Action 2016 fees. Those who raise enough trees can even attend the programme for free, while Greenpop is also offering prizes and incentives for the activist who raises the most trees, and the activist who surpasses their original target by the largest amount.

What is the Greenpop Zambia Festival of Action?
In June-July, Greenpop holds a three-week long festival of action near the mighty Victoria Falls. Hundreds of people from all over the world come together to plant trees, learn about sustainability, share knowledge and have lots of fun. It’s an epic adventure, filled with great people, interesting stories and huge hearts. This is a festival with a difference – it’s an action based, conference-style, voluntourism project that includes camping in the beautiful Greenpop village, meeting like-minded people from around the globe, helping to plant a few thousand trees, growing a food forest, learning about permaculture, attending workshops on alternative energy and eco-enterprises, live music evenings, film evenings, giving back, learning, and celebrating our planet.

Why Zambia?
Greenpop co-founders Lauren O’Donnell and Misha Teasdale received a phone call in 2010 about 15,000 baby trees sitting in Zambia with no one to plant them. Those saplings, and the man who propagated them, are what took Greenpop to Zambia to explore the possibilities of running a community project there.

They discovered a country heavily affected by both deforestation and climate change, making it a relevant space for environmental action, and with such a friendly and welcoming culture, an abundance of inspiring individuals, and a wealth of expertise, Zambia is the perfect location to create a platform for exchange.

“The Zambia Festival of Action has become such a big part of our lives at Greenpop,” says Lauren, “It feels very powerful to bring so many like-minded, inspired people together with a common goal of planting trees and sharing knowledge on the state of our environment and solutions on how we can contribute to conserving our planet. The magic comes from these interactions.”

About Greenpop:
0306d8_7cae110459214248ad862aa515c3f338Greenpop is an award-winning social enterprise on a mission to (re)connect people with our planet. They plant trees through urban greening and reforestation projects, spread environmental awareness, and activate people through green festivals and workshops. Greenpop was founded in 2010 and has since planted over 57,000 trees at schools and other urban sites as well as forests and farms across South Africa, Zambia, and Tanzania.

More information:
Find out more about Trees for Fees:
Learn more about the Festival of Action:
Join the Festival of Action 2016 event page:
Check out the current activist projects:
Website –
Facebook –
Twitter – @GreenpopSA
Instagram – @GreenpopSA
Youtube –

How Greenpop is celebrating Arbor Month

hogsback 1 (1)Greenpop, the Cape Town-based urban greening and reforestation organisation, is gearing up for its biggest, greenest Arbor Month yet.

The organisation is celebrating its 6th birthday, joining eco-minded activists and athletes in running the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon for trees, while launching an ambitious fundraising campaign to gather funds to plant 1,000 trees in communities that need them around Southern Africa, and co-hosting the Hogsback Festival of Trees in the Eastern Cape. September in South Africa has never been greener!

What is Arbor Month?
Celebrated since 1983, Arbor Month brings South Africans of all ages together every September to celebrate the beauty and importance of trees. During the course of the month, eco-education and tree planting take centre stage. The ideals of this month have clearly grown over the years: what started as Arbor Day then became Arbor Week, and Greenpop isn’t the only organisation that now fills the whole month of September with tree-related fun.

This month is also Heritage Month in South Africa, so this is a time to celebrate some of the country’s oldest, largest and most culturally-significant trees (South Africa’s ‘Champion Trees’ such as the Sagole Baobab Tree in Limpopo, the Three Queens trio of Matumi trees (Breonadia salicina) at Amorentia Estate near Tzaneen, the Dalene Matthee Big Tree and many others). 24 September, Heritage Day, is a special day for all South Africans, who are encouraged to celebrate their culture and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions. Viva Arbor Day!!

Greenpop’s Arbor Month activations:

Sanlam Cape Town Marathon:
545029_456009831083421_1341334724_nSince launching in 2007, the Sanlam Cape Town marathon has grown into one of the main events in Cape Town’s sporting calendar, as well as a superb opportunity for organisations with a social or environmental mandate to canvass support from the public. The event is endorsed by two of South Africa’s sporting greats – Elana Meyer and Francois Pienaar – for its tremendous potential to further develop in the hopes of being included as one of the World Marathon Majors. Greenpop has 17 athletic activists RUNNING FOR TREES at the marathon, combining a passion for being active with a passion for making a positive impact on the environment.

Hogsback Festival of Trees:
In honor of Arbor Month, Greenpop is happy to announce they will once again take part in the Hogsback Festival of Trees from September 23 to 25. Working in partnership with Terra-Khaya Family & Eco Lodge, Greenpop promises a weekend of immense fun and unforgettable memories as festival goers enjoy live music, delicious food and, of course, tree planting!

By rehabilitating the wattle-invaded land and planting indigenous trees in this unique cloud sanctuary, they will be fostering biodiversity in the threatened forests and adjacent grasslands. Greenpop has set an ambitious goal of planting 2,000 in this one weekend, helping to restore the natural habitat of numerous species in the Amathole mountains which are currently at risk, including the Cape Parrot, the Amathole toad and the Samango monkey. Get your green on and join Greenpop and the Terra-Khaya Family & Eco Lodge at the Hogsback Festival of Trees for an unforgettable weekend that is bound to make a long lasting impact!

Open Nursery Day:
Greenpop’s nursery provides a temporary home to many of the trees the organisation plants around Cape Town as part of its Urban Greening Programme, as well as providing a hub for eco-education and sustainability awareness. Volunteers are invited to come together at Greenpop’s Open Nursery Day, when there will be plenty of ways to get their hands dirty for a good cause; mulching, watering and taking care of seedlings. RSVP here. There will also be other volunteer opportunities during the month – sign up for Greenpop’s newsletter to be alerted to them.

1 month, 1,000 trees:

0306d8_7cae110459214248ad862aa515c3f338Greenpop was founded exactly six years ago, in September 2010, when Misha Teasdale decided to plant 1,000 trees in under-greened communities in Cape Town to compensate for his own impact on the environment from his global travelling through his advertising and production career. The last six years have been an incredible journey for Greenpop and, almost 70,000 trees later, Greenpop continues to plant trees at schools, community centres, farms and forests around Southern Africa, in the process, expanding their network, crossing borders, bridging divides and forging connections. In September they will be getting back to their roots by mobilizing to raise funds for 1,000 trees to mark their 6th birthday through a variety of inventive online and social media campaigns, including a TOP SECRET poster and online campaign to be launched on 1 September (clue: follow the hashtag #GotWood on Greenpop’s social channels in September!).

Why it is important to educate youngsters about marine pollution

14088656_1185097971535739_2503993326562851484_nMore than 25 000 pupils in 50 primary and high schools situated in rural KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa will be educated about the devastating effects of pollution in the oceans on marine life through an interactive presentation hosted by Steven Ngubane of Aqua Amazing, sponsorsed by Plastics|SA, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and Umgeni Water.

According to Douw Steyn, Sustainability Director at Plastics|SA, this school programme forms part of the annual Clean-Up & Recycle SA activities that take place throughout the month of September. These activities culminate in national Recycling Day on Friday 16 September, and end by celebrating South Africa’s 20th anniversary of participating in the annual International Coastal Clean-Up on Saturday 17 September.

“The ocean remains one of the most expansive, mysterious and diverse places on Earth. Unfortunately, marine life is dying and the whole oceanic ecosystem is threatened by various sources of pollution from people, industry on land and natural causes. If we are to preserve the ocean’s integrity and natural beauty, drastic measures will have to be taken to combat this scourge,” Steyn says.

Although many of the children being targeted with this school campaign have never seen the beach, it is important for them to realise that they too have an impact on the health of our oceans. Aqua Amazing therefore teaches children that their land-based litter ends up in rivers, and eventually the oceans, and that they have a responsibility to clean-up and recycle their plastics.

14039903_1185097341535802_6002992360768741341_n“Plastic debris is one of the most common elements found in the ocean. This poses a significant threat to marine life as a whole. Our interactive talks and presentations use graphic shark dissections to present the children with amazing facts and figures about the impact of marine litter and waste found in oceans on sharks, marine conservation and marine science matters,” Ngubane says.

The first leaarners to benefit from the launch of this pilot project were the 900 pupils of Hlahlindlela High School, situated in the hills of Waterfall, KZN. In his talk, Ngubane educated the learners on the various sharks found along our coastline and dispelled many myths about sharks. He also highlighted the importance and many opportunities to be found in waste and recycling.

“Remember that your land-based litter ends up in rivers and ultimately in the oceans where it becomes a potential hazard for living creatures,” he warned. Pupils were also educated about Plastics|SA’s various sustainability initiatives and encouraged to take part in this year’s Clean-up and Recycle Competition.