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For 20 years, a Brazilian couple planted a forest, creating a safe haven for thousands of stray animals.

Because we believe that everything else is more essential than oxygen, we are on the verge of losing all of our forests. Deforestation and animal slaughter have become commonplace around the world. So, when we hear about all of these disasters, it’s no longer news.

Preview photo credit Sebastião Salgado / facebooktreecointxc / instagram

Deforestation, on the other hand, has become the norm. Despite the fact that many people resist it, just a few triumph. One of them is this couple.

Preview photo credit Sebastião Salgado / facebooktreecointxc / instagram

Sebastio and Lélia Salgado, a Brazilian couple, spent over 20 years creating a forest that now serves as a habitat for hundreds of creatures. It all began with a single step.

When journalist Sebastio Salgados went home after filming a documentary about the Rwanda massacre, the idea of planting a forest came to him. So he desired a green refuge in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, where he currently resides.

Preview photo credit Sebastião Salgado / facebooktreecointxc / instagram

However, what he discovered was a complete disaster. Where there used to be a lush green forest, there is now a dusty landscape with drained rivers and lakes. There were only 0.5 percent of the trees visible. And Salgado’s situation became desperate.

The proposal of Salgado’s wife, Lélia, was the catalyst for the transformation. She convinced her husband that they could turn this nearly-desert area back into a forest. And they both believed in that dream, after which everything changed. 

They told others about their wonderful dream.

Preview photo credit Sebastião Salgado / facebooktreecointxc / instagram

Salgado sowed the first seed in 1998. However, they realized that two individuals would not be enough to plant 1,754 acres. As a result, the couple hired 24 people to continue the work at all hours of the day and night. They took care of the weeds by uprooting them, planting new seeds, and caring for them. 

Sebestinao also used the internet to spread the word about their objective. There, he offered people the opportunity to volunteer and fundraise for the initiative. They also established the Instituto Terra, an environmental organization, to demonstrate how important their objective is.

Their main purpose, in addition to generating Atlantic Forest Seedings, has been to restore the ecology. Furthermore, Instituto Terra provided an excellent opportunity for schoolchildren, farmers, miners, local leaders, and others to learn about forestation.

Their perseverance paid off in the end. The seeds grew into plants, and ultimately became massive trees, one by one. Despite the fact that it was once a deforested area, it is now a lush green forest with a diverse range of species.

Preview photo credit Sebastião Salgado / facebooktreecointxc / instagram

The couple has grown more than 4 million saplings of around 293 species of trees. They have planted 1,502 acres of tropical forest since 1998 giving back life to the land it deserved. As a result, the rainfall became more stable and it gave birth to a better ecosystem, again.

The return of wild animals to the newly repaired woodland was another incredible result. Around 172 species of birds, numerous sorts of animals, amphibians, and reptiles, some of which are endangered, built their home in this new forest because they could readily find food and shelter.

Preview photo credit Sebastião Salgado / facebooktreecointxc / instagram

What an incredible thing it is when one small step has the potential to transform the entire world. Isn’t that so? So, kudos to Salgado and his tenacious wife, as well as every volunteer who went above and above to make the world a better place.

Preview photo credit Sebastião Salgado / facebooktreecointxc / instagram

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