How a childhood fight about birds made our founder Joris Olde Rikkert determined to connect people to nature.
Why did you found Treemendo?
“There are as many reasons for founding Treemendo as there are trees and people. But if I had to summarize it: For the survival of life on earth, everyone needs to be involved in restoring nature. So that we counter biodiversity loss and the climate crisis. At Treemendo we empower people, regardless of their background, occupation or location to create a positive impact on the planet. What drives me every day to work hard, is knowing that with the whole Treemendo team we are pushing sustainable development and nature restoration forward.”
What is your background and how will you use this to realise impact for Treemendo?
“My academic background in climate physics and design engineering, enables me to understand the main climate challenges and to develop solutions that can create impact at scale. I have set up three sustainable and social enterprises before, so I can built on that experience for Treemendo too. As a CEO of Treemendo, I am in charge of developing our main strategies, analysing our impact and adjusting when needed. But next to this, I am also heavily involved in all parts of the startup, including technical development, design, and management.”
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What is your favorite moment in nature?
“My most memorable moment in nature is one my earliest childhood memories. I must have been 4 years old. Me and my dad were cycling through a forest. I noticed the song of a bird. Excited as I was, I told him: “Listen dad, a bird is singing!”. Dad corrected me: “Yes Joris! A blackbird is singing”. I didn’t know what blackbirds were, so I responded: “No! A bird is singing!” My dad again: “A blackbird is singing!” That is how we continued arguing over that one bird call, for so long that I still remember it until this day. I reminds me of how unknowing we are, even when we think we know everything. It motivates me to learn more, especially about nature.”
What is your favorite tree?
“I am fascinated by the Tachigali versicolor, also known as the suicide tree. It grows in Costa Rica and Colombia, grows up to 30 meters, and flowers only once in its lifetime, after which it dies within a year. Further mystery is that the suicide trees in a forest seem to flower only once every four years! Until this day, no one knows how this is synchronized. But what we do know is that the dying of the ‘ mother’ tree gives light and live to the seedlings.”
Where can we find you if you are not busy improving the world step by step?
“I love outdoor sport & make sure I go for a run every day. And I love to cycle through London to visit galleries and museums. So catch me running in the parks if you want to join me some time. Haha”