Meet 3 Social Entrepreneurs Preserving the Earth!
Today is Earth Day. Our planet is calling to action now more than ever — nature is constantly suffering and the amount of plastic in our oceans keep growing. The climate changes with extreme heat and wildfires. Floods and hurricanes affect millions of people more and more every year. The most recent Atlantic hurricane season has been record-breaking.
Things haven’t improved since COVID-19, the pandemic simply links to the health of our ecosystem. Our biodiversity is being disrupted by humans. Deforestation, land-use change, intensified agriculture and livestock production as well as illegal wildlife trade all contribute to the contact and transmission of infectious diseases from animals to humans — such as the case with COVID-19.
Our ecosystems support all life on Earth. The healthier these are, the healthier our planet and the life on it will be. We need to live in harmony with our nature and the planet — but we need everyone to come on board.
For the 2021 Earth Day we would like to highlight 3 Social Entrepreneurs who we’ve had the pleasure of supporting at We Make Change and who are all preserving the Earth!
Agung Bimo Listyanu 🇮🇩
Bimo is a co-founder of CarbonEthics, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to decelerate the climate crisis through climate education and blue carbon ecosystem conservation. They strongly believe in a community-based conservation model — placing Indonesian coastal communities at the heart of our conservation work. When you conserve with CarbonEthics, you are not only creating positive environmental change, you are advancing social impact by directly enhancing the livelihoods of their coastal community partners.
Bimo considers himself as a corporate activist. He studied an Oil & Gas exploration major and did projects for the government related to geothermal energy. That was the first time he fell in love with sustainable energy and the low carbon economy. Bimo worked for Johnson & Johnson for five years, but decided recently to switch career.
“I switched careers to the consumer goods industry, handling various commercial functions and now I am back to my sustainability roots by joining Danone as a Regional Ecosystem Coordinator for Asia”
In 2019, he was one of the three founders of CarbonEthics — all three coming from different corporations.
“We aim to educate, reduce and offset the emissions of individuals and institutions to fight back climate crisis through blue carbon restoration.”
In CarbonEthics, Bimo has been leading the team for GHG accounting for Blue Carbon inventory, Product Development, Farmers Management and Commercial Strategy. For Bimo, passion is the only way to achieve things, but he prefers calling it purpose.
“I see purpose as my guiding compass. This is the state of life where I feel fulfilled and content.”
Bimo has taken his learning from the corporate world into CarbonEthics. For him, it has been amazing to coach young people who are passionate about conservation.
Thanks to We Make Change Indonesia for having talked to Bimo.
Riitta Raekallio-Wunderink 🇫🇮
Riitta is the founder and Chief TreeHugger of HaliPuu Pocket Forests. They are addressing three challenges: mental health, consumption and climate. Research shows that mental and physical well-being is increased considerably through contact with nature. However, many people around the world are deprived of this contact due to lack of time, place or means. People try to fill emotional needs through consuming physical goods, which creates ever increasing over consumption. In the Arctic, nature is very fragile, and under serious threat from climate change. This can be hard to understand if not seen and experienced first hand.
Finnish research shows that even virtual experience of forest substantially increases well-being. HaliPuu creates an open, friendly space, where people from all around the world can experience the wholesome Arctic forest nature through mobile and irl platforms. We act as surrogates and enablers, providing everyone a meaningful nature connection and a place to share it with like minded people. This increases the awareness of trees that surround us, slowly changing people’s attitudes towards local and global nature.
We aim at enabling “consuming without consumption”, taking the physical product out of the equation and giving people the direct emotional gratification instead.
Riitta is the daughter of a lumberjack from Finnish Lapland in the Arctic. She spent her childhood in the forest. She later moved to the southern part of Finland to pursue a degree in business. At the same time, she traveled the globe to find The Truth. But she realised, that the truth was right where she started.
“When I started studying, I soon realised that gathering personal wealth and importance could never be my driver. I do not see myself separate from other beings or the planet, so striving to benefit all is just logical!”
She then went on to found HaliPuu Pocket Forests — which is a family company. The owner of the HaliPuu forest itself and the man behind the original idea is Pappa (grandpa), who inherited the land from his father. When Pappa was a small boy, his family was forced to flea the battles of World War II, and relocate to the HaliPuu forest in a remote lappish hamlet of Veitservasa. The forest kept their growing family fed and clothed, it provided them shelter and income to slowly build a life for themselves.
Pappa has always earned his livelihood through the forest. He has been working in the woods since he was a child; first collecting pine cones for seeds, and later as lumberjack. He has worked on his father’s saw mill and made kilometres upon kilometres of plank for the local people to build their houses from. He has sold firewood for heating and turf for landscaping, meanwhile also working tirelessly to help the forest grow healthy.
HaliPuu forest has always been very dear to Pappa. He knows this forest like his own pockets, it is the place where he ran and played as a child, growing up alongside it. Pappa has decided that he wants to find a way to keep his dear trees standing, and give others a chance to enjoy them as well.
Selorm Adzimah 🇬🇭
Selorm is the Lead Strategist at EcoWillow Ghana. They work to reverse effects of climate change such as deforestation, chemically growing foods and address unsustainable living and the lack of environmental sustainability. They do this through 1) Their Green School Project: committing 4 months to one school in climate action education, afforestation practices and thorough environmental sustainability education and practicality at a fee. 2) Public outreach on sustainable living and sale of exotic and organic fruit and herb seedlings. And 3) Tree planting campaigns across Tamale, Ghana.
In 2015, Selorm quit his job to volunteer on a project. This made him realise that he had to act on his interest in carbon asset development as a solution to climate change and ultimately led him to found EcoWillow Ghana who are based in Tamale in Northern Ghana.
“Northern Ghana is one of the hottest yet less environmentally sustainable with carbon emissions on the rise and less trees to equalise the effects of carbon emissions.”
EcoWillow Ghana is on a mission to bring back the culture of urban self-sustainability and positively contributing towards the environment. They sell convenient organic and exotic fruit and herb seedlings to individuals mainly 20 years and above and specifically to restaurants, hotels, corporate institutions and businesses with a triple benefit as consumable, interior plant decor and photosynthesis purpose. They engage schools and the public on environmental sustainability practices with practical conservation and planting sessions on subscription basis over a period of time.
And lastly, to equalise the effects of carbon emissions, they do mass tree planting exercises during the rainy seasons across Tamale. This is on behalf of individual #MyTree subscribers, corporate institutions as their corporate social responsibilities and through grants from donor organisations.
By 2030, Selorm foresee regional capitals of northern Ghana featured in top 10 green cities in Africa.
“Wherever you are in the world, you have a part to play”, Selorm concludes.
Make a change!
Today is a day dedicated our Earth. This issue is still pressing and we hope Bimo, Riitta and Selorm can serve as role models for individuals who want to make a difference for our planet.
How can you make a difference?
If you are starting up — or running — your own Social Enterprise or NGO, you can get volunteers with the skills you need to grow your impact for free here.
If you have skills that you want to volunteer to make sustainable change for the environment on the planet, you can join a project here. Together, we reverse the effects of climate change across the world.