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We can all relate to house plants, right?

Recently, I finished my Master of Philosophy in Climate Change and Sustainable Development. Day in and day out, my laptop screen and Google search history made me quite somber about the state of the world. In addition to my existential environmental crisis, the pressure to find a job and enter the working world was weighing heavy on my heart. I was qualified but inexperienced and overwhelmed by the pressure.

It’s very easy to peer into the rabbit hole of chaos and the doom and gloom of the current times. Global political unrest, acknowledging the first felt impacts of climate change, planetary ecological collapse, failing financial and infrastructural structures and the list could go on. I began to lose sleep over the incomprehensible future which lays ahead of me, and all of us.

I even self-diagnosed myself to be suffering from Solastalgia, a term coined by Albrecht in 2007. It explains a form of mental or existential distress caused by environmental change. Albrecht describes Solastalgia as “a type of homesickness or melancholia that you feel when you’re at home and your home environment is changing around you in ways that you feel are profoundly negative”.

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Feeling like a Revived House Plant

However, my time at Greenpop has reinvigorated my soul. Picture me, the house plant, that’s been sitting in the wrong light for too long and not had enough water. Now picture Greenpop, as that refreshing drink of water and warmth of the morning sun when you rearrange the room. I feel like a revived house plant ready to bust out new leaves and flowers! So, this is a huge thank you to Greenpop. Not only is the team welcoming, passionate, hardworking, and treemendous – they are active citizens who are making a difference in this world.

During my Urban Greening internship, I was placed in the department headed by the oh-so-charming Deon! (Bless his heart.) The main project running in this department is the Fynbos for the Future program. This is Deon’s baby and it’s everything he is: colorful, inspirational, and powerful. My time spent at Greenpop consisted of assisting Deon in many facets of this project. I worked on value-added curriculum with the aim to integrate the garden and outdoor space into normal teaching, encouraging teachers to explore, enjoy, and teach in this dynamic space.

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Get Active, not Anxious about the Future

I assisted in writing material for the different workshops that accompany each planting phase of the garden and assisted with preparation for these magnificent plant days. From propagating plants weeks before, organizing supplies, tools, and plants, unpacking and repacking the container again and again and again. On the plant days, I assisted Deon as an Education Facilitator. Together, we delivered the workshop content which is curated for maximum learning, planting, and fun!

Alongside the work for Deon, there are many other tasks interns take on in the office to branch out and have some fun. I attended an Investec lunchtime market. Here, we advertised and sold Arise coffee, Greenpop’s sustainable coffee brand. I assisted in researching and writing for the other programs Greenpop runs.

To sum up: becoming involved with this organization changes lives, and your life will be one of them!

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