In 1979 Jadev Payeng was just a poor teenager in Assam, India. One day he was searching along the Brahmaputra River when he discovered that a flood had left a large number of snakes stranded on a barren sandbar. He was devastated by their suffering, and set to work to help. But he didn’t just want to help the snakes; he wanted to fix the barren landscape. So he planted bamboo seedlings and moved to the area to look after them. One thing led to another, and after decades of solitary and unrecognized stewardship, a 550 hectare forest arose from the sand – a complete ecosystem with thousands of varieties of trees. It is now known as the Molai Forest Reserve. It is home to several endangered species including elephants, tigers and rhinos. Imagine a world full of Jadev Payengs! Alas, as Jadev himself observes, “There are no monsters in nature except humans…”
As always, the solution is right there in the problem, but without wisdom we just can’t see it.