Dreaming of a Greener World with The SUGi Project

Here at SUI, we grow excited every time we meet green minds who are rethinking the way our world works. In our continued pursuit to grow more conscious each day, we happily stumbled across the SUGi project, an organisation who are actively trying to create green spaces that benefit our planet's health and seek to spread that vision far and wide, that vision centring primarily on one very important green idea: biodiversity.

Here, they tell you more about their objectives and projects while we also tell you a little more about the importance of a biodiverse planet.

Without further ado, this is their story...

“SUGi allows people all across the globe to transform abandoned sites, landfills, parking lots and waterways into ideal habitats for birds to nest, for fruits to grow, for fresh air and for the magic of nature to thrive. I strongly believe in the power of restoring communities both ecologically & socially. That’s why we created SUGi!” - Elise Van Middelem, Founder of SUGi

HOW & WHY IS SUGi BRINGING BACK THE WILD?

Human beings continue to grapple with the age-old question — why am I here? This existential quandary is particularly acute in this moment. Everything from the weather to our own bodies seem to be pushing back against the impact of human life on the planet. People are more aware now than they ever have been about the importance of taking action. The desire is there, but the means and the path can feel complicated and out of reach. So, we set out to build a tool that helps us heal and grow together.

The journey was a very personal one for our founder EVM:

“I wanted to do something meaningful to address the threat to biodiversity, but couldn’t find an organization that I could connect with. I wanted to watch a forest, but all I could find was people tallying the number of trees they were planting with no ability to track growth or know if the species were even native, and no human connection."

(Seen here: A SUGi project in Karachi, Pakistan)

In part, SUGi was founded as an alternative to the big trend towards monoculture tree planting, as trees alone, regardless of ecosystem health, would wipe away all our climate concerns. Yes, trees absorb carbon, but what kind of tree and how it’s planted and with what other species really matters. SUGi brings the wisdom of ancient forests and the symbiotic benefits of biodiversity back in the midst of modern urban life.  Our method rests on complexity, resilience, and community.

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Why wild is better...

Many of us are already aware that the more trees or plants in the world, the better it is for the health of our planet. However, what we also need to consider more is the variety of nature we encourage and create.

What nature gives us just by existing is invaluable and with more varieties of plant and animal species roaming the earth, we encourage an ecosystem that provides many benefits such as:

  • a healthier, more efficient natural cycle including better soil fertility, pollution breakdown and absorption, nutrient storage and climate stability.
  • Varied and plentiful biological resources for food, medicine, and so on.
  • Not to mention our communities gain a more beautiful world to explore, research and learn from!

By protecting our planet's biodiversity, we could achieve a healthier, more diverse Earth that also equals endless benefits to us - you can read more in our blog here that discusses the importance of botanic gardens. SUGi's initiatives directly aim to create this greener world and so they join us today to share their knowledge and experience.

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WHAT IS A SUGi PROJECT & WHAT ARE ITS OBJECTIVES?

SUGi is a people-powered platform that is planting green hearts (and lungs) in cities around the world. Our forests are 100% natural, 30x denser and are 100x more biodiverse than conventional tree plantations. SUGi forests capture 16x the carbon and become fully self-sustaining, maintenance-free within two years.

We play a critical role in citizen engagement to further biodiversity, by making it easy, fun, and social for anyone anywhere to become a biodiversity builder. We offer monthly subscriptions and one-time donations that bring the wonder of Nature closer. Think of SUGi as the global home and culture hub for those we call “The Rewilding Generation.” 

(Seen here: A SUGi project in Yakama, USA)

TELL US MORE ABOUT "THE REWILDING GENERATION".

SUGi’s Rewilding Generation acts as a grassroots army of sorts in the battle to protect biodiversity. We love that responsible brands like SUI are part of this movement by helping us spread the word.

We have more in common than the letters of our respective names. Like SUI, SUGi sees inspiring design and great storytelling as key to getting the message out and empowering global citizens.

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United for nature...

Reforestation has, for a few years now, gained popularity and been a catalyst in forming projects and initiatives all around the world that encourage communities to come together and restore their environment. Each of these organisations, like SUGi, have the ability to make great change and have a hand in turning the tide of our climate crisis just by bringing together green hearts!

But, it's not just organisations that have that power. Licypriya Kangujam, an Indian child climate activist, celebrated her 9th birthday on October 2020 by appealing to the masses to plant a tree to mark the day. It resulted in approximately 24,000 trees being planted in her honour and shows just how powerful we can be by using our voices for good.

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WHAT MAKES SUGi FORESTS SO SPECIAL & EFFECTIVE IN SUPPORTING BIODIVERSITY?

Forests do not have to be far-flung nature reserves, isolated from human life. We can grow them right in our own backyards, even in cities. SUGi Forest Makers create ultra-dense, biodiverse forests of native species only in urban areas by engineering soil, microbes and biomass to kickstart natural growth processes. Vacant lots, abandoned sites and landfills can be repurposed; parks, watercourses and parking lots can be adapted.

Following the proven Miyawaki method, we turn unused space into a perfect habitat for birds to nest, for fruits to grow, for fresh & cooler air to circulate, and for people to feel healthy and whole.

Currently, SUGi supports 68 urban forests (80,000+ trees) in 10 countries and we’re just getting started!

WHAT SUSTAINABLE INITIATIVES HAVE YOU BROUGHT TO INDIA SO FAR?

With our Forest Maker EcoSattva, we are creating 50 school forests in Aurangabad, India. This program is unique, not only for the green-lungs it will provide for children and villages in this rural area, but in its mission to democratize knowledge about the Miyawaki method. We’ll train a team for each school and site to ensure that these forests become the healing and learning centers for future generations. Bringing Nature closer to children has a transformative effect and one we want to nurture and grow.

SUGi is also incredibly lucky to count Shubhendu Sharma, founder of Afforestt, who learned the proven Japanese technique directly from the great botanist and expert in Natural Forests Dr. Akira Miyawaki, as one of our Forest Makers. Among the several forests that SUGi has partnered with Sharma on is Maruvan, an ambitious project in Rajasthan that will not only create a forest and restore biodiversity, but also build a Research Center for reforestation.

This will serve as India’s forest authentic tree seed bank and become a destination for anyone in India to learn about native trees and techniques for planting on arid terrain.

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A biodiverse nation...

According to IUCN, India is a "megadiverse country" that is home to 7-8% of the all species in the world, that being approximately 45,000 plant and 91,000 animal species. With this in mind, it's all the more important that our communities are taught to understand how to cultivate our ecosystems that range from rainforests, marine environments, desert, grasslands and more!

Education is at the core of how we understand and treat our planet. By encouraging programs that teach us how to be mindful of our actions, we set up future generations to inherit that knowledge and continue on the good fight. Here in India, we have such a beautiful green home already, we just need to make sure it stays that way and flourishes.

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WHERE CAN WE FIND MORE INFO ON SUGi?

Stories like Nature itself connect us to each other and to ourselves. We hope you’ll explore more SUGi forests at www.sugiproject.com. We’re even helping revitalize sea forests through an innovative coral restoration effort. Keep up SUGi “in the wild” and in real time on our Instagram. When you want to give your green heart a lift, watch our youtube channel. Here’s a SUGi film that we just released:

 

Thank you to SUGi for their insightful words and for doing the good that they do! Be sure to stay tuned to our social platforms as we'll be collaborating more with them in the future to spread the green word and show you just how big their green hearts are.

Have a lovely weekend, green heart-ers, see you next week with an all new green blog!