The Start Of It All
Sebastião Ribeiro Salgado was working as a Brazilian photojournalist when he traveled to Rwanda. It wasn’t until he returned to Minas Gerais in Brazil that Sebastião noticed a change. The long, lush landscape that he was so used to seeing in his hometown had disappeared entirely. Now, the photojournalist was staring at miles or destroyed forest instead. The landscape looked as though it had changed forever.
Wanting To Change
The photojournalist couldn’t believe what he was seeing. What had happened to all the trees and wildlife that had occupied the land for so many years? In fact, only around 0.5% of the landscape was now covered in trees compared to the vast rainforest that had once occupied the space. Sebastião was sick, and he knew the land was feeling the same way. Thankfully, his wife, Lélia had an idea to bring it back to life.
Making A Difference
The couple set about putting things back to the way they were. It would be a massive project, but they couldn’t stand back and do nothing. Sebastião and Lélia began to tirelessly work every day as they set about planting millions of trees to replace all of those that had been destroyed over the years. The couple invested in an abandoned cattle ranch to build a base for volunteers. Now, they had enough to find their organization, Instituto Terra.
A Lasting Impact
The team started planting trees back in 1998 and haven’t stopped. In fact, they have planted over 2.7 million saplings made up from 293 species of trees covering more than 1,502 acres of rainforest. The best bit? 15 species of amphibians, 15 species of reptiles, 33 species of mammals, and 172 species of birds have since moved into the new forest, and it looks as though the land has finally been brought back from the brink of being destroyed.
It once looked as though the forest was destroyed. However, this husband and wife have worked for years to plant millions of trees bringing the entire area back to life.