The industrial revolution was an important turning point in the history of mankind. It was responsible for changing the shape of the world and the appearance of machines that made manufacturing faster and easier. On the other hand, it had several negative effects, including the destruction of vast areas of forests from Brazil's forests in America South to Southeast Asia. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), nearly 129 million hectares (1.29 million square kilometers) of forests have been destroyed since 1990, meaning that the world has lost forests equivalent to that of South Africa.
With our loss of forests, we are not only losing a carbon-consuming element, but we are also shifting the remains of forests into a product that today is responsible for 15% of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In addition, a large number of animals and plants are losing their habitat daily. In the face of these unfortunate events threatening the health of our planet, we must all do something and try to help. Here, you may ask yourself, in the face of this environmental massacre, what can a small individual help do, and will it have any effect at all?
But before losing hope, it is necessary to look at the story of Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado and his wife, Lélia Deluiz. These couples decided to show the whole world what a small group of people can do when they have passion and perseverance by Planting Brazil's forests again. Because we can really consider nature as a fighting spirit, it can always stand on its own feet if it has the right conditions. Salgado, a well-known journalist who won many awards in the press and published a large number of books, was physically and emotionally tired after he documented the barbarity of the Rwandan genocide in the 1990s and returned home to Brazil, that once was covered by tropical forests. But when he got there he was shocked that it had turned into a barren land devoid of wildlife, but his wife Laela was convinced that Brazil could possibly return to its former glory.
The land was as sick as I was sick. The area of the forest was only 0.5 percent, but my wife did not give in to despair and I thought about replanting trees.
said Salgado. The trees then started to come back with insects, birds, and fish. The couple worked not only on agriculture but also founded the Instituto Terra, a small institution that, since its foundation, has planted 4 million seedlings and helped revive the forest. Although it may seem a bit simple, it is not. According to Salgado, you have to plant local trees exclusively and you have to spray the seeds in the same area where the trees are planted. Otherwise, ants or snakes will not come. If you plant trees from another area, the animals will not return to the forest and the forest will remain silent.
After making every effort to make sure that everything they plant belongs to that environment, the region flourished significantly in the next 20 years, and the wildlife returned to Brazil's forests, where the specter of death had been resolved, to change the disturbing silence by singing birds and the sounds of insects. Today, it has become one of Brazil's most important forests. It has 172 species of birds, 33 species of mammals, 293 species of plants and 15 species of amphibians have returned to the environment.
Restoring Brazil's forests was not the only benefit of the project. It also inspired many, giving them an example of what we can do in a short time when we do what is right for the environment. As Salgado says:
"We need to listen to the words of people on earth, nature is the earth and all the creatures on it, and if we are no longer spiritual to the planet we live on, our lives will be in danger."
This experience is real proof that we can change our reality, and that we can fix what we have destroyed on our planet. Today we need the green machines that give us oxygen and absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and mitigate the impact of global warming.
Do you think you are ready now to do your part?