ONE MARRIED BRAZILIAN COUPLE COMPLETELY REPOPULATED A FOREST, PLANTING MORE THAN 4 MILLION TREES
Ok, so I’ve got to admit something first thing. I thought of myself as a treehugger way before nouveau yuppies made it popular. So I’m going to say straight up that these two people totally inspire me. I may even be jealous because they were able to do something I only dreamed of being able to do. Sebastião and his wife Lélia Salgado decided to be heroes. But how? They are personally responsible for planting more than 4 million trees. The Brazilian couple, along with volunteers they got involved, created a forest all on their own in under two decades.
HE CAME HOME FROM WORK AND FOUND HIS FAMILY LANDS’ RAINFORESTS JUST…. GONE
Sebastião is a photographer by profession. So his work has exposed him to all manner of devastation across the world. But when he came home from covering the genocide in Rwanda back in 1994, what he saw made him feel even worse. When he returned home to Minas Gerais, Brazil, what he saw was devastating. The rich, diverse rainforest on his family lands had just disappeared. When he left it was alive and diverse. But when he came home, it was all destroyed and dead. But he realized it wasn’t just his own land.
BRAZILIAN COUPLE SAW A NEED TO SAVE THE WORLD AND STEPPED UP IN A HUGE WAY
So over 26 years between 1990 and 2016, the world has lost over half a million square miles of rain forest. So in terms of size, that’s about how large the country of South Africa is. That’s a lot of destroyed forest life. So Sebastião and his wife Lélia, along with a few volunteers, dedicated a lot of their time to replanting an entire forest. They founded the nonprofit, Instituo Terra which focuses on “ecosystem restoration, production of Atlantic Forest seedlings, environmental extension, environmental education and applied scientific research.” So along with over 4 million trees, their revived forest is now home again to 172 species of birds, over 30 different mammals, 15 amphibians and 15 reptile species.
They’re pretty spectacular heroes. This Brazilian couple decided to try to save the world from home. So far, they’re off to a good start.