Friday, 26 April 2013

Greenpop aims to paint Livingstone green for UNWTO

The Post, Zambia
Greenpop, a South Africa based organisation last year extended its operations in the country through the launch of trees for Zambia, a reforestation and eco-awareness project which began with a three-week tree planting event and was followed by an ongoing campaign to inspire awareness about deforestation, climate change, tree planting, environmental sustainability and alternative energy sources.
Greenpop is trying to schedule a tree planting side event during the UNWTO general assembly to highlight the issues of deforestation and how it affects everyone in Africa. This year, over 5,000 trees are planned to be planted in Livingstone.
Q-Kindly update us on what Greenpop is all about and your objectives?
A-Greenpop is a social enterprise that believes green and sustainable living can be fun, popular and accessible for all. We believe in inspiring a greener, more conscious, inclusive movement and do this through tree planting projects, green action events, education, social media, volunteerism and activating people to do something. Greenpop started in September 2010 in South Africa and we have since planted over 18,000 trees in over 200 beneficiary schools, crèches, old-age homes, community centres as well as deforested areas in Southern Africa. Creative tree-care programmes have been implemented and children, community members and volunteers are getting their hands dirty, learning a lot and loving it. Greenpop is inspired by the exciting projects we have been coming up and the bright green future we see for Africa.
Q-What are some of the challenges you face in promoting green campaign?
A-The challenge is that people rely on charcoal for a livelihood and it is not acceptable to just tell people to stop. Sustainable projects are ones that offer alternatives and education do not preach about how people ‘should’ live. We are starting to include solar cooking into our project and continually looking into other solutions as well. We are so grateful for all the support from the authorities, schools, companies and partners in Livingstone – none of this would be possible without the Livingstone community
Q-What does the hosting of UNWTO mean to your organisation?
A-It’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase Livingstone as a green and eco-tourism hotspot. Globally people are looking for responsible tourism options and we’d like to be involved in promoting Livingstone in this way. We also feel, delegates should be invited to plant trees and are hoping to run a planting side event during the UNWTO as well as offer delegates chance to buy a tree for Livingstone to compensate for their travel footprint. We would like to highlight the issues of deforestation and how it affects all of us in Africa. It’s really important to work together (all of us in Africa) as this issue and issues of Climate Change are not country specific – we are all in this together. We would also like to highlight to tourism delegates that greening and green tourism is the way to go and it is the trend globally. Greenpop’s media partner Makhulu has also just won the United Nation forum on Forests Short Film Award for Africa – the film is about a Zambian forest hero Lloyd Maanyina from Livingstone who was a charcoal seller and is now a tree grower. We believe this video should be shown at the UNWTO. We would also like to have an exhibition space to sell trees that delegates can donate to Livingstone to compensate for their travel footprint.
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