The rise of tree-planting social enterprises: boosting urban and rural resilience while restoring our global climate

In the words of Misha Teasdale, cofounder of South African tree-planting social enterprise Greenpop and one of the coordinators of Global Landscapes Forum (GLFx) Cape Town, “The landscapes in this part of Africa are like so much of the rest of the world: hugely degraded. There’s just so much need for restoration.

I see us as a catalyst,” Teasdale says of the chapter’s role. “We are galvanizing volunteers and organizations and seeing how we can leverage the great amount of resources that aren’t necessarily coming to the people on the ground.

As a chapter, we plan to offer a full, holistic and well-coordinated program of events and project activities, while promoting collaboration in the sector locally, amplifying the work of existing organizations and leveraging established audiences and networks,” he adds.

It is early days for GLFx Cape Town, but Teasdale and his fellow coordinators have a wealth of experience in landscape restoration, both as professionals and volunteers, while building relationships with organizations with which to partner.

Our plan is to initiate a conversation around the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and ask what that might look like in the context of the global south,” Teasdale says.

The Decade on Ecosystem Restoration has this feeling of being a Eurocentric narrative projected onto the Global South, as opposed to the third world having a voice. If you’re based on the tip of Africa, there’s very little you see or experience unless you’re online and following this stuff. There’s an opportunity for us to be this bridge,” he continued.

Bridges, of course, go both ways, and GLFx Cape Town plan to share with the rest of the world all the good work that is being done in South Africa.

There’s some really good research coming out of our universities in terms of restoring ecosystems,” Teasdale explains. “And there’s a wide spectrum of the application of adaptive principles coming out of South Africa that can be applied globally: restoration of riparian zones, agroforestry, regenerative agriculture.

We can shine a light on grassroots organizations that are moving the needle, making big things happen, and that can be an inspiration to others,” Teasdale adds. “These are resources, potentially, for the whole world.

The next big event in the calendar for GLFx Cape Town is The Eden Festival of Action at the end of June, where festival-goers will become an “empowered regenerative community” and help plant 2,000 to 3,000 Indigenous trees before partying the night away.

Photo by Juliette Bisset shows members of Greenpop planting trees.

See Greenpop website.

This article by David Charles originally appeared on thewebsite of the Global Landscapes Forum website. Reprinted here (with minor edits) by permission.

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