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Almost 40 Years Ago A 16-Year-Old Started Planting A Tree Every Day On A Remote Island, And Now It’s Unrecognizable
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Nature, People4 years ago

Almost 40 Years Ago A 16-Year-Old Started Planting A Tree Every Day On A Remote Island, And Now It’s Unrecognizable

The largest river island in the world, Majuli, may disappear. Over the last 70 years, Majuli has shrunk by more than half and there are concerns it will be submerged in the next 20 years. The island is under constant threat due to the extensive soil erosion on its banks. The reason for this is thought to be the large embankments built in towns up the Brahmaputra river to protect them during the monsoon season which redirect the devastating fury of the river to the islet. Since 1991, over 35 villages have been washed away. And while Indian authorities are trying to figure out how to save the island, its life may have even been shorter if it wasn’t for one local environmental activist.

In 1979, Jadav Payeng, then 16, encountered a large number of snakes that had died due to excessive heat after floods washed them onto the tree-less sandbar. Then and there, Jadav made it his life’s mission to save Majuli from erosion by planting trees. Working tirelessly every day, he has planted 550 hectares of forest – larger than Central Park in New York City (340 hectares). That forest is now home to Bengal tigers, Indian rhinoceros, and even a herd of over 100 elephants regularly visit it every year. Continue scrolling to learn more about this capeless hero.

Jadav Payeng lives on the biggest river island in the world, Majuli

Image credits: Jitu Kalita

The island, however, is under constant threat due to the extensive soil erosion on its banks

Image credits: 101 India

Over the last 70 years, Majuli has shrunk by more than half and there are concerns it will be submerged in the next 20 years

But its life may have even been shorter if it wasn’t for Jadav

Image credits: William D McMaster

Everything started in 1979 when he was only 16 years old

Image credits: Theforestmanofindia

He encountered a large number of snakes that had died due to excessive heat after floods washed them onto the tree-less sandbar

Image credits: William D McMaster

There and then, Jadav made it his life’s mission to save Majuli from erosion by planting trees

Image credits: bijitdutta

And he has been doing it every day for the last 39 years

Image credits: bijitdutta

He has planted 550 hectares of forest – larger than Central Park in New York City (340 hectares)

Image credits: bijitdutta

And it has become home to many animals

Image credits: 101 India

Including Bengal tigers and Indian rhinoceros

Image credits: William D McMaster

Even a herd of over 100 elephants regularly visit it every year

Image credits: 101 India

The reason why Majuli is shrinking has a lot to do with the large embankments up the Brahmaputra river

Image credits: 101 India

People built them for protection from everything the monsoon season throws at them

Image credits: William D McMaster

But the embankments redirect the devastating fury of the river to the island

Image credits: William D McMaster

To learn more about the “Forest Man of India” and his fight, watch the short documentary below

Many people are already in awe of this capeless hero

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stellermatt
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

this is just one man, one man making a difference. and what a difference. if 0.1% of the world could do this (that's 7.5million) imagine how much the whole world would change, the life it would bring back to the world.

Carrie de Luka
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

In UK too busy building houses due to housing shortage. So getting rid of trees.

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Mark
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

One man makes a difference.

mena torres
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

a difference for better or for worst ... if ALL (let's say 51%) made a good action and the other don't actively pollute .... it's perhaps a dream that in a future not so far could be already to late.

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Chris Jones
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Really want to make a difference to the planet? No more foreign holidays by air or sea. Aviation pollution stands at 67% yet we tinker around with electric cars which merely moves pollution from street to power plants as they'll have to increase output. Output still mainly made by burning and causing toxic waste. Only use companies that provide green electricity from wind farms etc though there aren't enough yet to meet demand if we all did that tomorrow. Only buy local produce as shipping products is another major pollutant. Don't have more than two children. UK is building properties on green belt land. Current policy is to keep building the houses we need. Sooner or later saturation point will be reached. Infrastructure for water is not sufficient to keep pace with growing demands. Population needs better management. No travel for work if you can video conference instead. Harsh? Yes. Changes need to be BIG if we to really turn this problem around. Plant trees by all

Chris Jones
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Changes need to be big if we really do want to turn this problem around. Plant trees by all means but that in isolation isn't the answer. I realise this is extreme and not an overnight possibility. Job losses would be massive. Be an economic nightmare. The planet would be in a better state though.

Load More Replies...
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stellermatt
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

this is just one man, one man making a difference. and what a difference. if 0.1% of the world could do this (that's 7.5million) imagine how much the whole world would change, the life it would bring back to the world.

Carrie de Luka
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

In UK too busy building houses due to housing shortage. So getting rid of trees.

Load More Replies...
Mark
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

One man makes a difference.

mena torres
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

a difference for better or for worst ... if ALL (let's say 51%) made a good action and the other don't actively pollute .... it's perhaps a dream that in a future not so far could be already to late.

Load More Replies...
Chris Jones
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Really want to make a difference to the planet? No more foreign holidays by air or sea. Aviation pollution stands at 67% yet we tinker around with electric cars which merely moves pollution from street to power plants as they'll have to increase output. Output still mainly made by burning and causing toxic waste. Only use companies that provide green electricity from wind farms etc though there aren't enough yet to meet demand if we all did that tomorrow. Only buy local produce as shipping products is another major pollutant. Don't have more than two children. UK is building properties on green belt land. Current policy is to keep building the houses we need. Sooner or later saturation point will be reached. Infrastructure for water is not sufficient to keep pace with growing demands. Population needs better management. No travel for work if you can video conference instead. Harsh? Yes. Changes need to be BIG if we to really turn this problem around. Plant trees by all

Chris Jones
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Changes need to be big if we really do want to turn this problem around. Plant trees by all means but that in isolation isn't the answer. I realise this is extreme and not an overnight possibility. Job losses would be massive. Be an economic nightmare. The planet would be in a better state though.

Load More Replies...
Load More Comments
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