It all started with a simple goal: to plant 1000 trees in 1 month.
In 2010, Misha Teasdale was returning back home to Cape Town after traveling 16 countries as part of a film production crew. Although the adventure had allowed for incredible personal growth, Misha was keenly aware of the negative impact of his nomadic lifestyle on the environment.
After discussing his concerns with 9 friends over supper one night, the group resolved to come together and get their hands dirty for our planet. The goal? To plant 1000 trees during the month of September in the under-greened townships of Cape Town.
They fundraised, researched appropriate planting locations, gathered like-minded individuals and the campaign came together beautifully. After the final tree had been placed in the ground the group went back to their day jobs. But their phones didn’t stop ringing. Underfunded schools who had heard about the project were requesting trees, companies were offering their support and individuals were asked to volunteer. Misha, his partner Lauren O’Donnell and their friend Jeremy Hewitt realized that there was an ongoing need for an organization which connects people to the planet, each other and themselves and decided to focus all of their energy on making it a reality.
And, Greenpop was born.
Today, we plant trees through urban greening and reforestation projects, spread environmental awareness, and activate people through green festivals and workshops across Southern Africa. But in our hearts, we are the same.
1. We believe in (re)connecting people with our planet. We have become disconnected from nature, our beautiful planet and only home. If we (re)connect with nature and each other in meaningful ways, we believe that caring for our planet will become second nature.
2. We believe in getting active (not anxious) about the future of our planet. There are a lot of doom and gloom messages out there and it makes us stressed out, anxious and even apathetic. We believe that positivity and action are the best ways to motivate change.
3. We believe that changing the world is fun. When we give back and create value for the earth and our fellow human beings, joy is created – changing our own lives and changing the world. We’re on a mission to have fun and share this joy with as many people as possible.
4. We believe in making greening POPular. We’re on a mission to popularise environmentalism – making it accessible to everyone, appealing, creative and fun!
1. Thrive: Be bold, bright and brilliant. From planting trees and spreading education to designing monitoring systems or communicating an inspirational message, strive to thrive, not just sustain. Aim for thrivability, believe in abundance and make a real impact.
2. Collaborate: “Work in brotherhood like a forest, standing tall like a mighty tree.” Strive for confidence and focus on what you do and do it well – like a strong and grounded tree. Then, actively seek creative partnerships with other people and organizations locally and globally. We are part of a network that gains strength through collaboration and support – like a forest ecosystem.
3. Be Agile: Focus on solutions, make plans and adapt to make good ideas happen. There may be a ‘right’ way to plant a tree today, but if we learn of a better way tomorrow, re-assess and try it. Be swift and well coordinated when change is needed for the better!
4. Dig it: Ours is a labor of love. When you’re passionate about what you do and you really care, your enthusiasm rubs off on others. Being part of our team means being an inspiration to others and being inspired by their triumphs – and having fun together.
5. Keep promises: Doing what we say we will do is important to us, whether it’s planting the right trees, meeting deadlines, or listening to what others have to say with an open mind. By being true to ourselves, we earn the trust of others.
6. Treat others like gold: Respect and appreciate every team member – give off warmth and support, we’re in this together! Value and be grateful for every person that engages with Greenpop. Whether it’s someone wanting to get their hands dirty at our nursery or a big potential partner, value everyone! We’re building a community, not a list of stakeholders. Initiate and nurture relationships.
7. Live it: We’re an environmental organization thus our team are practicing environmentalists. Practicing does not mean perfect but do practice. Stay current in the green space, ask questions, encourage discussion, experiment, challenge yourself, each other and our community. Practice treading lightly on our planet.
8. DO great things: Don’t just talk about them. Innovate, activate and make great things happen! Now is the time for action. Have the courage to contribute. Show us your magic.
Founder & TreeEO
In 2010, Misha gathered like-minded individuals to plant 1000 trees in a month and hasn’t looked back since. When he is not planting trees, you can find him doing wheelies on his bicycle or sprinting up Table Mountain.
Founder & Managing Director
Lauren is a co-founder and the Managing Director of Greenpop. With a passion for people, Lauren spends her day’s inspiring individuals from all walks of life to be active citizens and get active (not anxious) about the future of our planet. As the Managing Director of Greenpop, she is continually looking for ways to run an organization differently, more organically and yet also professionally.
Before he was the award-winning South African folk musician Jeremy Loops, Jeremy Hewitt co-founded and managed the finances for Greenpop. Today, Jeremy lends passion and power to the project from afar and inspires his thousands of adoring fans to tread a little lighter.
Head of Programmes
After finishing up her Master’s degree in urban ecology from the University of Cape Town in 2009, Georgina gained professional experience working in the fields of biodiversity planning, biodiversity informatics and ecosystem-based adaptation at ICLEI’s Cities Biodiversity Center. After working on projects in Taiwan, South Korea, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi, and South Africa, Georgina joined the Greenpop team. When she is not heading up our programmes across Southern Africa, you can find Georgina walking the soles off of her shoes or cooking up a Greek storm in the kitchen.
Head of Communications
Born in Knysna and raised in the United States, Zoë moved to Cape Town in 2008 to study at the University of Cape Town. After leading a variety of student organizations, teaching undergrads, and earning a Masters degree in Development Studies, she joined Greenpop in 2014. When she is not speaking for the trees as Greenpop’s Head of Communications, you can find her singing soprano for VOX Cape Town, practicing Italian, and searching for the best pizza in the Mother City.
Head of Events
Born in Brazil, Carla grew up in the small town of Swellendam. Straight after school, she joined the Greenpop team as an intern in the events department and developed a passion for sustainability. Since then she has completed a marketing degree and worked in communications and operations across the country. Carla joined the Greenpop team full time in 2017 with an aim to help create sustainable events that connect people with nature. And did we mention she’s only 21?!
Head of Operations
Raised in Cape Town, Emma joined the Greenpop crew at the Zambia Festival of Action in 2015 and 2016 whilst completing her degrees in Politics, Economics and Public Policy at UCT. After working in Human Rights and completing her MSc in London, Emma returned to Cape Town and began working full-time for Greenpop in January 2018. She considers herself an authority of random trivia with a predilection for procrasti-crafting and stress baking, and when she’s not keeping things ticking-over at Greenpop, she enjoys dismantling the patriarchy and indulging in foreign cuisines.
Ron grew up in the peaceful Klein Karoo town of Oudtshoorn. After completing his studies in Management Accounting at the University of Stellenbosch, he spent two years living in rural Zululand, building a backpacker lodge and exploring the back roads of Malawi. After vowing to never again partake in the corporate race, he joined Greenpop in 2016 in search of a cause other than profit chasing. Outside of the office he enjoys making music and listening to the philosophies of Alan Watts.
Born in the green hamlet of Kramat and raised in the beach holiday suburb of Strand, Yazeed finally settled in the hustle and bustle of historical District 6. After completing a degree in marketing management, he spent the next 6 years working in the nonprofit and social enterprise sectors. In 2017, he decided to bring his passion for making a positive contribution to Greenpop. When he is not managing our donor relationships, you can find Yazeed hiking or attending dhikr gatherings.
Having grown up in various countries around the planet including India, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Israel, and South Africa, Nevau has found a home in the Mother City. Spending large stints of his childhood on farms and in the bush, he developed a strong passion for the natural world and organisms that make it up. After studying Sociology at the University Currently Known as Rhodes, he gained industry experience in the fields of marketing and advertising before combining them with his love for the planet by joining Greenpop in 2017.
Urban Greening Programme Manager
Born in Durban, Deon moved to Cape Town as a child and went on to study music at Stellenbosch University. After earning his BMus, he worked toward his PGCE and spent the next few years teaching in South Africa and the UK. In 2017, he moved back to Cape Town and joined Greenpop’s programmes department. When he is not overseeing our urban greening work, you can find Deon tending to his honeybees, working in the garden and making a delicious curry.
Born and raised on the Cape Flats, Nadine always had a great passion for life outdoors. After studying PR and working in corporate Nadine woke up one day with a strong urge to quit her job and plant trees for the rest of her life, with this finding her self at Greenpop. Nadine is Greenpop’s Administration and Office Coordinator and runs the office firmly making sure everything has a place. When she’s not in office Nadine loves spending time with her friends going on adventures and considers her self a serious foodie.
Eco-Education Hub Caretaker
Originally from Mtare, Zimbabwe, Mlambo relocated to South Africa in 2009 with his wife Patience. Together, they have four children, three girls, and one boy, and they are currently working hard to put them all through school and university. His son, Emmanuel, just finished his matric and one of his daughters is in her second year of university. At Greenpop, Mlambo ensures that our Eco-Education Hub stays safe and sound.
Marleen (pronounced ‘Marlane’ – sensitive subject) started her career as a broadcasting journalist in the Netherlands, but was drawn to African adventure and moved to Zambia ten years ago. After developing and managing community and conservation volunteer projects in Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, she joined Greenpop in 2012. Marleen is passionate about photography and is also a Director at Penda Photo Tours and The Penda Trust.
Africa is the world’s most rapidly urbanising continent.
Between 2000 and 2030 the urban population will more than double and urban space will increase by more than 700%. As this happens, ecosystems and the essential natural assets they provide will come under threat. During this time of expansion and innovation, it is imperative that natural spaces are both protected and incorporated into urban landscapes.