Even though it may take a village to raise a kid, it only takes a man to plant a forest. And, this man from India is a perfect example of this.
Back in 1979, the then 16-year-old Padma Shri Jadav Payeng was devastated when we came across a bunch of dead snakes that were burnt to death by the high temperatures on the banks of the Majuli Island in Assam, India.
Because of erosion, Majuli, the biggest river island in the world, lost more than 50 percent of its mass in 50 years.
According to scientists in the Forest Man documentary, the island could vanish in 15 to 20 years. Payeng knew he needed to do something about this or humans may also die in this way because of the heat.
The Planting Trees Story Began
With unconditional love for his homeland and with so much dedication, Payeng started planting one tree on the bare land, daily, for the next 35 years.
39 years later, his amazing effort has paid off. The woodland he created spans over 1360 acres and it’s around 1.6 times bigger than Central Park in NY.
The forest is filled with thousand of tree varieties and has become the home to rhinos, deer, elephants, wild boards, vultures, reptiles, and Royal Bengal tigers. This forest has been named by its creator, Payeng.
Also nicknamed as the Forest Man of India, Payeng claims that the daily planting was time-consuming, but he never considered stopping. Even today, he begins his day very early in 3 am to get to Majuli by 5 am and take care of his forest.
His Efforts Were Recognized by the Public
4 years ago, Payeng won the Padma Shri, one of the highest civilian awards in India for his hard work and perseverance.
For him, the Molai Forest is his home and advocates for its protection and improved education for children from early on about the importance of planting trees.
Payeng’s efforts don’t stop here- he plans on planting 5000 acres on Majuli and form a 500-mile flora on the Brahmaputra River’s sandbars.
He claims it’s his dream to fill up the Majuli Island and Jorhat with trees and he will continue planting until his last breath.
He constantly tells the people around him that cutting trees won’t bring anything good.
Deforestation Is Happening in Front of Us: Are We Doing Enough to Stop It?
Deforestation is very well known to us. We’ve grown learning about it and witnessing it. Today, we see massive amounts of trees being cut down and being replaced with buildings.
And, not everyone is taking the necessary measures to stop massive deforestation worldwide. But, people like Payeng show us that there is still time to act and so something for our dear planet!