Planting Trees & Changing Communities In South Africa with Misha Teasdale on The Sustainable Jungle Podcast #sustainablejungle

Podcast #30 · Misha Teasdale · Planting Trees & Changing Communities In South Africa

“That’s what’s special about [planting] trees, you bring people together, work hard, reconnect with nature and more importantly reconnect with each other, across culture, across ages. We’re all on the same level when we plant trees.”

Misha Teasdale

Misha Teasdale is the Tree-E-O of Greenpop South Africa, a tree planting eco-education organization, popularizing the green movement and coordinating climate-action events and festivals in Southern Africa. Misha has a B-Tech in Sustainable Industrial Design, and before he started Greenpop, had a colourful career, including a journey from Cape Town to London, where he profiled NGO’s and CBO’s across the continent to attract CSI funding and encourage knowledge sharing and grassroots volunteering. He also drinks coffee, bikes, runs mountains, and practices low-impact living!

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We visited Greenpop’s Eden Festival of Action (held annually in September) in Knysna, South Africa, a small town hit by devastating forest fires and in desperate need of re-greening. We interviewed Misha in the middle of a very high energy tree planting day, in a forest, right next to the ocean so you can hear the waves, the birds and the delighted shrieks of high-school students throughout the episode. We discuss the following:

  • Misha’s background and how his interest in sustainability and social issues developed through this interest in design (~01:50)
  • Misha’s early career, his epic job flying around the world working on a documentary­­­ and how this inspired the early vision for what Greenpop is today (~03:00)
  • How planting trees is a bridge for bringing people together in South Africa where there is so much disparity and disconnection (~05:30)
  • Why Greenpop’s events have 1-3 weeks of deep emersion eco experiences (~07:15)
  • The importance of reconnecting humans with nature (~08:00)
  • The joy of collaborating in nature – the feeling of planting 5,000 trees with a tribe of 600 volunteers (~10:20)
  • Thoughts on Greenpop’s role in a rapidly urbanising society and what we need to do to create sustainable urban environments (~11:15)
  • Innovations Misha is excited about around the world from an urban planning and green building perspective (14:30)
  • What exactly is Greenpop, how it got started in 2010 and how it developed from there (17:00)
  • How Greenpop developed into a sustainable social enterprise (~20:45)
  • How they expanded into reforestation programs, corporate events and other community collaboration programs (~22:00)
  • The Greenpop Eden Festival of Action: How it started and developed…and what it is today (~23:20)
  • Exactly what goes down at the Festival of Action including tree planting, permaculture, waste building, eco-art projects, beekeeping workshops, forest emersion workshops, musical program, evening entertainment (speaker evenings, talent shows, etc.) (~29:45)
  • The Greenpop festivals are open to anyone globally and attract participants from all over the world (~33:45)
  • Stories of impact as a result of the Greenpop work (~35:30)
  • Big events coming up for Greenpop including the Festival of Trees in Hogsback and the annual Reforest Fest (~37:40)
  • Misha’s advice to all humans and an example of his own journey of conscious consumption (~40:50)
  • One green living lesson for anyone wanting to live a more conscious low-impact life and what the green movement can get wrong (~43:45)
  • How to find and support Greenpop South Africa (~45:30)

“I love it when we have this beautiful hard working day with face paint and mud and tools and screaming and shouting and feeling like you’re in this tribe… and you get exhausted but you’re just like BOOOF… heart full open and then you celebrate in the evening and then the next day, it’s like bam bam bam bam, more workshops than you know what to do with.”

Misha Teasdale on Greenpop’s Reforest Fest, held annually in March
Planting Trees & Changing Communities In South Africa with Misha Teasdale on The Sustainable Jungle Podcast #sustainablejungle

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