Thursday June 1st, 2023
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Canopy: The Adopt-a-Tree Project Building Sustainable Communities in Siwa

They grow up so fast.

Staff Writer

While there’s no shortage of tree-planting initiatives in Egypt, Canopy adds to the movement with an inclusive approach that invites more people to invest in planting trees in the Siwa Oasis. Less of an initiative and more of a community, Canopy was founded as a passion project by married couple, Sami Soliman and Sara El Sayeh, with the aim of planting trees, all the while maintaining a sustainable and environmentally-friendly approach. How? By allowing people to adopt a tree.

Canopy’s goal, first-and-foremost, is to build a community by establishing the land as a viable one for living. In allowing horticultural adoption, Sami and Sara’s aim is to urge those that do adopt to make the trip to Siwa to see their green child bloom, take in the beauty of the oasis, and establish it not only as somewhere to visit from time to time, but somewhere to live.

While planting trees may seem like a small part of that puzzle, the founders are keen to point out that that our branched green pals are necessary to balance out the odds of an earth plagued with rising carbon emissions, and the planet’s climate fluctuations. Canopy doesn’t only serve to nurture a community within Siwa, but to also play its part in reducing the carbon footprint in the area.

In a collaboration with Hand Over Projects, a social enterprise that aims to revolutionise the building industry by designing and building environmentally-friendly and cost-effective solutions, Canopy held a Siwa Earth Building workshop lasting 11 days in January. The workshop’s focus was to show how building with concrete, while useful, has harmful environmental and social implications. The workshop emphasised that building with natural materials, such as mud or rammed earth, offers a multitude of macro benefits.

The workshop took its participants through an actual project build of a Canopy community building, using natural and sustainable resources throughout. The turnout was impressive, with Egyptian and international youth and adults participating to learn, build and explore.

Canopy has so far planted 3,000-plus trees in Siwa and aims to expand into more land. Sami also wishes to expand beyond the oasis, into more cities in Egypt and focusing on the desert lands of Alexandria. Aside from the Earth Building workshop, which Sami and Sara intend to hold again in September, people have engaged with the project to great extents, with architecture and civil engineering students at the University of Modern Sciences and Arts (MSA) taking on the project by centring their bachelor thesis and projects on how to build sustainable facilities in Siwa, while also helping Canopy expand its operations.

For more info on how to adopt a, check out Canopy on on Facebook or Instagram. All you have to do is fill out a form, and voila!

Images courtesy of Canopy