Planting the seeds of environmental revolution


Misha Teasdale has seen climate change take its toll. While working in film production and flying regularly across the world, Teasdale realised his enormous carbon footprint was part of the problem. Something had to change. So he decided to start small – by planting a sapling and inviting others to do the same. That humble initiative has resulted in tens of thousands of new trees being rooted across South Africa, and the continent.

“I’ve spent a huge amount of time travelling and in this process, seen a lot of environmental degradation,” Teasdale says. “I’ve seen the effects of climate change creeping in.” He started Greenpop in 2010 with a simple goal. To plant 1 000 trees in one month. When Teasdale offered a chance to do something tangible, South Africa not only responded, but exceeded the target. “There are many physical things that Greenpop has done, but mostly it’s inspiring young people to make change,” Teasdale says.

Greenpop’s particular focus has been on underprivileged areas characterised by streets lacking lush greenery. By bringing in plant life, Teasdale and the volunteers are able to instil pride in people because of the improved space around them. “Trees are beautiful and they allow for us to really plant hope and plant change,” Teasdale says. After beginning in South Africa, his efforts have spread to projects in Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania. Individuals come from all around the world to join Greenpop in greening the earth through eco-festivals, camps and planting sessions. “We planted 80 000 trees since we began in 2010,” Teasdale says. “But what’s more amazing than that is the 160 000 hands that planted those trees.” His work is proving that anyone can make a difference to the environment. All it takes are willing hands to be a catalyst of change.