This story of the dedication and accomplishments of a single person is truly inspiring. In 1979, flood waters covered a natural sandbar in Jorhat, a small place in India about 350 kms from Guwahati. During the flooding, a large number of snakes washed ashore. When the waters receded, the snakes, left without any natural protection from the sun’s rays, slowly baked in the sun, all dying.
Jadav “Molai” Payeng contacted local forestry agencies to alert them to the problem and encourage them to rebuild the area, which was deforested, left barren. He was told in return that they would do nothing, but he could plant bamboo, the only thing that would grow there. So began his 30 mission to save the habitat. He single-handedly planted 1360 acres of land, beginning with bamboo, from seed. He water the seedlings every day, nurturing them into full grown plants, pruning as needed. Once the bamboo began to thrive and he saw signs of wildlife returning, he expanded the flora in his forest, planting trees and other natural plants, others appearing on their own.
His forest is now home to a rhino, a Bengal tiger, migratory birds and many other creatures. His neighbors sadly do not approve of the wildlife his forest attracts and protects. Some have called for it to be cut down. Finally, the Indian government learned of his work and were amazed at what a single man could accomplish. They now assist and defend the forest as an important natural habitat needed to maintain the ecosystem.
- via Inhabitat