by Eric Pfeiffer on Upworthy site:
He’s built an incredible oasis one tree at a time.
In 1979, 16-year-old Jadav Payeng was heartbroken when he spotted several snakes that had died from heat exhaustion on a desolate, Indian island.
“It was carnage. I alerted the forest department and asked them if they could grow trees there,” he said. “They said nothing would grow there. Instead, they asked me to try growing bamboo. It was painful, but I did it. There was nobody to help me.”
He planted a few hundred bamboo trees to give other snakes a home and hasn’t stopped. Today, that island is a lush oasis of more than 1,360 acres.
After Payeng’s initial discovery, the government committed to a 5-year-long restoration project. After its completion, he stayed behind and kept planting trees.