Behind the Work: Beirut's RiverLESS Forest
Awarded in late 2019 the Future Impact award recognises creative leaders working towards sustainable change, offering a 12-month programme to help develop their project. Here Adib Dada, founder of theOtherDada, speaks to mentor Deborah Alden, Global Strategy & Design Leader for Principle and Adaptive Organisations about his reforestation project.
After moving to the United States to study architecture and biomimicry Dada returned home to Beirut to set up his company with a view to introducing a more sustainable approach to architecture and town planning to Lebanon. “After studying biomimicry it became clear that nature is the ultimate mentor,” he explains.
After studying biomimicry it became clear that nature is the ultimate mentor
In May 2019, tOD partnered with crowdfunding platform SUGi Project and social enterprise Afforestt to plant 800 saplings from 17 different native species in Beirut in a 200sqm plot near the river for an Urban Afforestation Workshop. This was followed by planting 400 saplings in 100sqm of land in a cemetery in June.
By using the innovative Miyawaki Technique of afforestation, these forests will be 100% more biodiverse, 30 times denser, sequestering 30 times more CO2 and pollution, and growing 10 times faster than conventional man-made forests.
In February 2020 D&AD awarded Adib a $15,000 development grant. This enabled the team to meet urgent demand and to build on the momentum that they worked so hard to achieve. They have since expanded to new areas and continue to restore vital biodiversity to much needed areas in Lebanon, with authorities approaching them to discuss replicating this work in other countries.
Work continues under the new moniker theOtherForest in the wake of the massive explosion in the city caused by a stockpile of ammonium nitrate in Beirut's harbour in August 2020. In January 2021, D&AD confirmed an ongoing partnership with theOtherDada to plant a tree for every Pencil awarded.