In July 2017, devastating wildfires wreaked havoc on large areas of the Eden District along South Africa’s beautiful Garden Route, particularly in and around Knysna. This is where our very own Margaret Mills grew up and where her mother lives to this day. The fires were therefore a shocking event that has played a significant part in our lives, and of which we have constant reminders. While the news around the progress in the area has become quiet, the people of the Eden District 'carry on' with their day-to-day lives. The news we do hear of rebuild initiatives for the fire victims, some of whom do not have the necessary funds, brings some joy and peace to our hearts. All of this work would not have been possible without NGO’s, corporates and individuals who take action in order to help those in need.
With this in mind, We would like to share the efforts made by Greenpop, a proudly South African non-profit organisation and social enterprise, to assist with restoring a part of what has been lost. Each June/July, the Greenpop Festival of Action brings people together from all walks of life to learn, connect, give back and get active. This festival has taken place in Livingstone, Zambia, for the past 6 years and for the very first time the Festival of Action 2018 will be hosted in the Eden District.
So who is Greenpop and why are they coming to Knysna? The impacts of the fires have been immense on both a social and environmental level. The agreement is that, alongside immediate rebuilding efforts, long-term efforts need to be focused on regenerating through introducing ecosystem services such as removing alien vegetation, planting indigenous vegetation and implementing catchment management. It is important to note that there are many local environmental and social initiatives starting up to protect against another disaster. Greenpop aims to contribute and be part of the solution through sharing relevant skills and lessons in a place that highlights some of the challenges that our planet faces as a whole. They are therefore bringing the Festival of Action to the Eden District to launch their ongoing environmental work in the area, aiding existing initiatives encouraging local residents to opt for indigenous plants when replanting.
What will happen during the 3 weeks in the Eden District? People will plant trees, rehabilitate ecosystems, clear alien vegetation, attend sustainability workshops, celebrate with live music and much more. It is an adventure for active citizens who want to change their world. Candida Nel, one of our fellow colleagues at JMA, has volunteered and attended various events by Greenpop over the years and is very excited to be spending a week with the Greenpoppers in Knysna. It is an initiative dear to her heart and we would like to all assist in sharing how you can contribute.