At the time of writing, COVID-19 has infected nearly 2,4 million people and killed 170,000 around the world. South Africa, where the virus has spread further than any other country in Africa, has just extended one of the world’s most stringent lockdowns through the end of April. For a total of five weeks—perhaps longer—South Africans will be unable to exercise outside, purchase non-essential items, or gather in public.
Many hope that such strict measures will halt transmission and minimise deaths. Others fear an economic disaster that will leave millions worse off. In parliament, on social media, and in homes across the country, the debate rages on.
No matter our predictions about what’s to come, COVID-19 affects us all. Greenpop is no different. Based on a March survey of nearly 550 nonprofits in 93 countries, nearly 97 percent of nonprofits have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. Eighty-eight percent of nonprofits surveyed have cancelled all events, more than two-thirds have seen diminished contributions, and over a third have shifted their operations. As we continue to manage the fallout over the coming months, we expect those numbers to hold steady or increase.
The pandemic’s impacts on Greenpop mirror those experienced by nonprofits around the world: we’ve halted many programs, postponed events that bring in much of our revenue, and seen donations slow down as people support much-needed immediate relief efforts. As we adjust to our new normal, we’re striving to think creatively about how to respond to this crisis while preparing for a post-COVID world. Here are three ways that Greenpop is adapting.
1. We’re being agile. We’ve postponed our large tree-planting events (but we’re very busy planning an epic restoration event for as soon as gatherings are allowed), paused our work in schools (but we’re planning ahead to deepen our impact – think food security and sustainable lifestyle education), and decreased our reforestation targets for the year (we’re committed to planting thousands of trees but have allowed some timeline adjustments).
2. We’re focusing on online activism. In these dark times, the positivity, joy, and desire to do good that’s erupting across the internet is bringing us a glimmer of hope. While we may be physically separated, online we’ve never been more connected. To foster that connection, we’re making it easier than ever to plant a tree in honour of a family member, friend, or loved one. Learn how you can plant a seed for a better future – send a tree certificate.
3. We’re getting buzzed… on coffee, of course! We can all appreciate the importance of a good cuppa, especially those of us with young children at home 24/7. We’ve teamed up with Tribe Coffee Roasting to plant a tree for every 3kg of coffee sold. Get your buzz on, plant a tree, join the Tribe.
Someday, the COVID-19 pandemic will end. When that day comes, the world we all share will still be here… and it will still be in need of protection. As you adapt to the present, thank you for continuing to imagine a greener future.
For this year’s Women’s Day in South Africa, we want to introduce a woman in sustainability who inspires us daily. After earning a Master’s degree in Development Studies, she joined Greenpop in 2014. When she is not heading up programmes across Sub-Saharan Africa, you can find her spending time with her family, tending to her garden, practising Italian, and searching for the best pizza in the Mother City. Get to know Zoë Gauld-Angelucci!
World Environment Day is organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and has been held annually since 1974. The goal of the day of action is to promote environmental awareness and draw attention to crucial concerns around our planet’s survival, that require active engagement and commitment. Today, the day represents one of the largest global platforms for environmental action, with millions of participants from around the world. Each World Environment Day focuses on a specific issue that reflects urgent problems and challenges of our time, such as climate change, biodiversity loss or pollution.
Composting is surprisingly easy with these 4 steps – you can even do it at home, and don’t need a lot of space.
Greenpop Foundation NPC is a registered non-profit organisation. Registration Number (NPO): 151-411 NPO.