Interview with Jochen Zeitz, Zeitz Foundation

The Zeitz Foundation (ZF) develops and implements ecologically responsible projects in the Greater Segera Region of Kenya. We spoke with their founder, Jochen Zeitz, about how our Climate Smart Commitment grant will allow ZF to address the region's deforestation while improving the well-being of the people who call it home.

What is the Zeitz Foundation's mission?

Our mission is to create and support sustainable, ecologically, and socially responsible initiatives, through a holistic balance of the four Cs (conservation, community, culture, and commerce), to achieve a long-lasting positive impact.

Can you talk more about the four Cs approach?

I believe that sustainable ecosystem management (and ultimately a healthy planet) can only be achieved through a holistic balance of conservation, community, culture, and commerce — what we call "the four Cs." Conservation is the safeguarding of biodiversity and natural resources. Community is to enhance the wellbeing of our local communities and create a long-term symbiosis between people and conservation. Culture is to celebrate unity and tradition as well as respect differences and welcome diversity. And commerce is to ensure the long-term viability of these initiatives and ecosystems.

Why is addressing climate change important to the Zeitz Foundation?

Addressing the climate crisis and other environmental crises we are facing is very important to ZF, as well as for the greater survival of all humankind. The science is clear that our planetary boundaries are already exceeded and worsening at an alarming rate. [Fighting] climate change and reaching our global net-zero emissions target are no longer just words, it has become a fundamental requirement for the future of our planet and future generations. At the same time, we need to address the other crises we are facing in terms of a rapid loss of biodiversity and pollution of our oceans, to name only a few.

How will the Climate Smart Commitment grant be used to impact the Greater Segera Region?

Your grant is helping us to start planting up to one million trees (six different indigenous species of acacia) in Kenya, including the start of a newly established Vocational Training Centre for Forestry and Permaculture on Segera. Funds from the Climate Smart Commitment will go directly into growing and planting some of the first-year trees and seedlings and the construction of the required infrastructure (and through this, contribute towards the development of our GAP Centre and nursery), which, depending on the arrival of our rainy season, should be planted in March 2020.

What can the average person do to help?

Anyone can, for example, help by supporting our reforestation initiative or offsetting their carbon emissions and preserving biodiversity by planting trees (and as it only costs $1 per tree, any size of donation is greatly appreciated).