On a special invitation, India's forest-man will go to Mexico in September. Jadav Payeng's voyage from a remote part of the world's biggest inhabited river island Majuli to Mexico will be to help the North American country become greener.
On December 7, Molai Payeng, as he is called in his native state, struck a deal with a Mexican NGO, Fundación Azteca, to collaborate on environmental projects in the North American country.
Cesar Rivas, the Director of Entrepreneurship and Environmental Action at Fundación Azteca, will serve as the focal point for the institution's relationship with Jadav Payeng.
"It's a project involving eight lakh hectare of land by the government of the country. I need to involve one lakh student per day to initiate the massive plantation drive. I have signed an understanding for this. The country has provided me visa for 10 years. I shall be in Mexico for three months every year. September, October and November are the ideal months in Mexico to plant a tree. The world is my home and the young generation my strength. I need to change the world green for the young and the developed nations are realizing this fast" says Jadav Payeng.
"As we have pointed out, it is an honour for us to have the opportunity of boosting capacity building in favour of conservation and restoration of ecosystems, through the experience and knowledge of Mr Payeng. Specifically, we are keen on inspiring present and future generations to take action for saving our planet. In this context, we will be sending you a tentative activities calendar to achieve those goals," Rivas said.
"We would love that Mr Payeng could be one of the featured speakers at the Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Summit. Space where we boost networking, capacity building, and we recognize the most outstanding and innovative entrepreneurs. This event will take place in November 2021. We want to Spread Mr Jadav Payeng work and his commitment to the protection and restoration of forests among Civil Society Organizations allied to the Foundation", as well as in its networks and platforms. We are confident that our collaboration will boost positive changes in favour of the environment, " Rivas added.
Fundacion Azteca, established in 1997 and owned by Grupo Salinas, is a non-profit organisation in Mexico that promotes social responsibility, particularly with regard to the environment.
"India is overpopulated that's the concern. We need to plant trees in each free space available in the country or else things shall be difficult. The advanced countries now have realized their exploitation of nature and so they are in a corrective drive. Situation in less advanced countries is still better provided that action starts right way" says Payeng. "I have advised the Mexico government to choose indigenous varieties over imported ones "added Payeng.
This Padmashree awardee specialises in transforming desolate terrain into a lush green paradise. Payeng is recognised with changing a barren sandbar of the Brahmaputra into a 550-hectare forest by planting trees on his own. Molai Kathoni is now home to deer, rabbits, a handful of regal Bengal tigers, elephant herds, and a wide diversity of native and migratory species.
Jadav Payeng has demonstrated to the world what commitment and persistence can do, growing from 50 bamboo shoots in 1979 to a vast expanse of green.
Students in the United States (US) are taught about Padma Shri awardee Payeng fairly. Payeng's work is part of the sixth grade curriculum at Green Hills School in Bristol, Connecticut. As part of their ecological class, the students learn about Payeng's work.
"Nature has an answer to COVID. I have seen my forest rejuvenate during the lockdown. Northeast is green and covered with thick forest, the progression of the pandemic is less in the region compared to the rest of the country. I have urged the UNESCO brand ambassador to observe seven days of lockdown every year to allow nature to liven. I am optimistic" says Jadav Payeng.
Jadav Payeng, or the man whose life revolves around towering trees and "Molai Kathoni," plans to bring an Areca nut and a coconut seedling to Mexico as a present from the country of tea and rhinoceros.
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