Greenpop co-founder 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 research and 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 an abundance of inspiring individuals, and a wealth of expertise, Livingstone Zambia is the perfect location to create a platform for awareness and dialogue around sustainability.
The rampant deforestation is 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, Zambia has approximately 50 million hectares of forest, with an estimated deforestation rate of 250,000 to 300,000 hectares per year.
In 2012, we launched this ongoing tree planting, education and sustainability drive to highlight the drastic deforestation, create dialogue around local climate change solutions and grow a greener Livingstone. We partnered with life-long environmental activist, Benjamin Migenge (now our Director of Trees in Zambia), and local organisations to make it happen.
Each year, the programme evolves and adapts to the environmental and community needs and our collective learnings. Our interest is in collaborating on sustainable solutions. We are not magicians with magical answers, but rather eco-superheros with passion and experience to bring people together, facilitate action and develop sustainable solutions and learning.
We monitor our trees and are continually learning about where trees grow best and why, and adapting methods where necessary.
- Create awareness around the deforestation issue and highlight grassroots solutions that can start being implemented
- Develop a culture of planting trees within communities through conservation education, and by teaching people how to plant and look after trees
- Create an exciting and stimulating programme of practical work, dialogue and workshops on topics relevant to the communities interests and needs.
- Highlight the global value of conserving the world’s natural forests
- Promote alternative energy sources so that people can move away from the dependence on charcoal
- Educate children on their natural environment, and assist with food security by planting fruit trees at schools
- Promote conservation farming methods to replace slash and burn techniques that will stop erosion and soil degradation, create more cost-efficient farms and help avoid fires
- Start a micro tree nursery enterprise at a selected number of subsistence farms, so that we can provide farmers with an additional income by buying trees from them
- Plant indigenous trees, food-providing trees and high use medicinal trees