You may remember the inspiring story of Jadav “Molai” Payeng, the man who spent 30 years single-handedly planting a 1,360-acre forest in India. Just when you think it doesn’t get more ambitious than that, Payeng has said he plans on planting yet another forest over the next 30 years.
As Stephen Messenger over at Treehugger has explained, when Payeng was just 16 years old, the dying wildlife along the sandbar in the Assam region of northern India saddened him to the point where he knew he had to do something. He began planting vegetation to provide shade to the animals, and more than 30 years later it has sprawled into a thriving ecosystem for birds, rhinos, elephants, and tigers. He also lives in the forest with his wife and kids, selling milk in nearby towns to get by. Still, he is determined to build another 1,300-acre sandbar near Brahmaputra.
“It may take another 30 years but I am optimistic,” he said in an interview with Indian press. “I feel sad when I see people felling trees. We have to save nature or else we will all perish.”
While his first mission may have been completed alone, he has still made many people think twice about what they are capable of accomplishing to better the world.
“My efforts haven’t gone in vain,” he said. “I may live a very lowly life but I feel satisfied that I have been able to stir up a lot of people who love nature.”
I love when a single person’s story can give you an entirely new perspective on your abilities. Not that he needs it, but I hope more people pitch in to help this time. It will be interesting to see what comes of it.