Since 1979 an Indian man named Jadav “Molai” Payeng has single-handedly been planting and tending trees to create a forest larger than Central Park. The Island of Majuli resides in the Brahmaputra River in Northeast India. The island, suffering from severe erosion, is home to a large population of over 150,000 people, but land mass continues to quickly decrease.
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Payeng, an environmental activist and forestry worker, took it upon himself to try and help his home island. The former President of India, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam gave Payeng the title ‘Forest Man of India’. He single-handedly planted a forest that is now home to a number of different animals and plants. It is helping the island survive erosion, as well as giving these animals a safe haven, which Payeng protects daily from poachers.
Payeng’s story is truly incredible, and it is documented beautifully in the short film below. Payeng claims to be a simple man, but his ideals are those of someone absolutely extraordinary. He believes in keeping nature pure, and that we are the ones affecting climate change, “All species on this planet are animals, including humans. The only difference is that humans wear clothes. There are no monsters in nature except for humans. Humans consume everything until there is nothing left.”
But, as a human, he is doing what he can to help his island. And the story is inspirational. He has been protecting and planting his forest for decades. He only recently was found by a journalist, and his story was exposed. Payeng does this all to protect the environment, with no need for money or fame.
He also has ideas for the future of the island, and how to benefit not only the environment, but also the economy, “If you develop the coconut industry it will be very beneficial. I would request the ministry of agriculture do that. Coconut trees are always straight and they help prevent erosion if planted densely enough. So it is good for protecting the soil, for boosting the economy and for fighting climate change.”
Watch the short documentary below, and take some inspiration from this man who is doing his part to protect our world.