Global warming; it can really ruin your day.
Does it seem that one person can’t make a difference? Then you haven’t met Jadav “Molai” Payeng. About 30 years ago, when he was still a teen, Payeng began planting seeds on a little sand bar near his home. Payeng wanted to plant the sandbar with trees and create a forest reserve for the wildlife that lived there. 30 Years later he has single-handedly planted a 1360 acre forest.
It all started in 1979 when a flood washed snakes up onto his sandbar. When the hot sun rose, the snakes died in the heat. “The snakes died in the heat, without any tree cover. I sat down and wept over their lifeless forms. It was carnage. I alerted the forest department and asked them if they could grow trees there,” said Payeng. The forest department suggested bamboo instead as the sandbar would not support trees. Payeng planted the entire sandbar with bamboo and his life’s goal became clear.
Payeng moved from the sandbar to a nearby deforested stretch of land and decided to create the forest he had always dreamed of. But first, he had to improve the soil quality: “I then decided to grow proper trees. I collected and planted them. I also transported red ants from my village, and was stung many times. Red ants change the soil’s properties. That was an experience,” said Payeng.
Now the area where Payeng’s forest grows is a wildlife preserve where local ecosystems flourish thanks to one man’s perseverance. “After 12 years, we’ve seen vultures. Migratory birds, too, have started flocking here. Deer and cattle have attracted predators,” claims Payeng.
The local environmental organizations could not be happier: “We’re amazed at Payeng,” says Assistant Conservator of Forests, Gunin Saikia. “He has been at it for 30 years. Had he been in any other country, he would have been made a hero.” Payeng’s efforts are finally getting the recognition they deserve; serving as an inspiration to countless others.
You can also plant a forest in your lifetime. Instead of getting cut Christmas trees, get a live one that you can plant in the spring. You can give trees as gifts through the Arbor Foundation or buy a tree for new parents to plant. You can donate to Arbor Foundation programs or get your kids to plant trees with the Love Trees program. If you planted one or two trees every year, just imagine how big your forest would get in your lifetime. Best green idea ever!
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