Good People Doing Good Things –Sebastião Ribeiro Salgado

Every Wednesday I write about good people who are doing things to help others.  Sometimes it’s very small things, like helping an elderly person carry their groceries, other times it’s big things, like providing homes for the homeless.  Today, I am focusing on someone who is ultimately helping to preserve the lives of every living, breathing species by helping clean up the environment.  Let’s face it, if we don’t do a lot more than we’re doing and soon, none of the other things will matter before long.


In the early 1990s, Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Ribeiro Salgado was stationed in Rwanda to cover the accounts of genocide. The on-ground experience left him traumatized.

It was 1994, and he was returning to his childhood home of Minas Gerais, Brazil, hoping to find solace in the lap of a lush green forest where he had grown up.  Instead, he found this …village-2019Nothing but dusty, barren land for miles and miles. In only a few years, his beautiful hometown had undergone rampant deforestation. The trees were cut down, the wildlife he remembered from his boyhood gone.

“The land was as sick as I was – everything was destroyed. Only about 0.5% of the land was covered in trees. Then my wife had a fabulous idea to replant this forest. And when we began to do that, then all the insects and birds and fish returned and, thanks to this increase of the trees I, too, was reborn – this was the most important moment.”

Salgado and his family set up the Instituto Terra and have now planted more than 2 million trees, transforming the environment. In doing so, he says, he has found one answer to climate change – as well as creative inspiration.

“Perhaps we have a solution. There is a single being which can transform CO2 to oxygen, which is the tree. We need to replant the forest. You need forest with native trees, and you need to gather the seeds in the same region you plant them or the serpents and the termites won’t come. And if you plant forests that don’t belong, the animals don’t come there and the forest is silent.

We need to listen to the words of the people on the land. Nature is the earth and it is other beings and if we don’t have some kind of spiritual return to our planet, I fear that we will be compromised.”

And this is what the village of Minas Gerais looks like today …village-today.jpgIn addition to the trees, 172 species of birds have returned, 33 species of mammals, 15 species of reptiles and 15 species of amphibians.  Indeed, I think Señor Salgado has done way more than his share to help save this planet, don’t you?

In this short video Portuguese is spoken, however the English subtitles are excellent, and the video is well worth the 5 minutes spent watching.

We don’t all have access to enough land to plant 2 million trees.  Some of us don’t have land on which to plant a single tree, but if you do … then plant one!  Lots of people planting a single tree eventually makes a forest!  And if you’re like me, you rent and cannot plant a single tree, plant flowers!  The bees will love you for it, and you will, in your own small way, be helping to save the planet, for the bee population is greatly reduced, and without them, folks, we would not have food to eat.  Period.  Speaking of bees … one last thing here, I was directed to a blog by an artist named Jodi, and her Sunday post did an excellent job of addressing the “bee crisis” as it were, in a concise summation.  Please drop in and check out her Bee Happy post!

51 thoughts on “Good People Doing Good Things –Sebastião Ribeiro Salgado

  1. Great Post. Very often we move tree seedlings from places where we know they will be cut down with grass. We try to find untouched land to give them a chance of survival. I will also start to gather up seeds from trees and do the same

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gail and I love plants. When we bought our home in High Level 11 years ago there were 2 trees and 2 scraggly bushes. Today those trees are many feet taller, and one of the bushes looks like a short tree. There are also a number of bushes that we planted that are expressing themselves well. Other trees or bushes that we planted are not doing as well, and when we investigated we found our house sits on a slab of clay that is at least 6 feet thick, we never did find the bottom. the bushes and trees growing there are trying, but I fear they will take generations to break through the clay. I am also trying to grow two rows of 30 lilac trees each which I planted as seeds about 8 years ago. They too are stuggling, but hanging on so far.
    I am not telling this to brag, or anything like that. When we did this it was not to try to help save the world. It was just to beautify our property, and maybe grow some berries and flowering plants. But watching the above video, maybe we were answering the call by our land to once again have leafy vegetation growing where once great forests stood.
    Meanwhile, the lumber companies are devastating the forests up here where we live, clear-cutting vast areas of land without replanting them. Our little plot of land doesn’t look like much in comparison to what is disappearing. And no one seems to care.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sounds like you guys are doing a heck of a lot more than most people, and with no help from the lumber companies. Too bad you aren’t rich …. you could buy up all the land and forbid them on it. I didn’t know lilac grew on trees, but thought only bushes. I care, though I haven’t done nearly what you have. If I owned land, though, I would plant trees on every square inch! There was a little tree between our yard and the neighbors until last year. I have no idea what kind of tree it was, and it wasn’t necessarily lush or full, but what I loved about it was that it drew hundreds of bees. If my window was open, I could hear the buzzing, even as deaf as I am. But, last year the landscapers decided it “didn’t fit” (I live in the ghetto, so really, who cares?) and they cut it down. And I’ve seen only a few bees so far this year … nothing like it used to be. Sigh.

      Like

      • We call lilacs trees, but they are generally more like bushes. Though, if you don’t trim them into a hedge, and give them lots of time, they do grow into small trees. Our real love is greenery, of any kind. Our whole yard isn’t trees, but the perimeter to about 6 feet from the fence if our main tree area. But I’m really apprehensive about moving. The trend up here is yards with no trees, and I’m afraid a new owner would cut then all down. We’re not really thinking about moving, but there are no health specialists within 500 kilometres of us. Most are 800 or more kms away. That involves a lot of travelling. We can’t afford a hybrid car, though we have a low-gasoline use engine in our Honda. Still, we pollute, but we are away from the biggest polluters. How Mother Nature feels about us we don’t know.No option seems to work that well.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I understand your dilemma, and I well remember how far you had to travel when you had your surgery last year, so I know it is a big concern. I can only speak for myself, and if I had a place such as you describe, I don’t think I could bear to leave it. You have space and nature … somehow city dwelling just cannot compete. I live in a suburb, so not quite city dwelling, but also not quite in nature. Attached townhouses, a bitchy property manager, motorcycles gunning their engines down the street at 3:00 a.m. … your place sounds much more idyllic. Heck, you keep describing it for me and you may wake up some morning to see me on your doorstep! 😉

          Like

                • No, not likely … I’ve been a smoker since age 13, though I was only 8 when I discovered I liked smoking. I was living with an aunt and uncle, both smokers, and I decided to try one. My aunt caught me and thought she would make me regret it by making me smoke several cigarettes. Much to her annoyance, I liked it! 😀 Be hard to break a 54-year habit. Besides, I get bitchy when I don’t have my smokes 😉

                  Like

                  • Does anyone else in your house smoke? Hopefully not Miss Goose! Bitchiness can be overcome. When I finally quit smoking, I expressed no grumpiness, or remorse, though I had sworn I would never quit. The time was right, and it went smooth as ice. I never looked back.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Nope, neither of the girls smoke, nor do the kitties. Chris has smoked exactly one cigarette in her 48 years, and that was her senior year in high school. She hated it, got caught and suspended for 3 days, and has never tried it again. They both hate it, but they would go to the store and buy me cigarettes if I ran out and didn’t feel like rolling any, for I really am much easier to get along with when I have my smokes! 🤣 I didn’t know you had ever been a smoker! I’m glad it was so easy for you to quit! Amazing, for most people have a hard time of it. I smoke 3 packs a day … down from 4 a day when I worked! But … the good news is that since I roll my own, I save around $2,000 per year, or half of my grocery budget!

                      Like

                    • Don’t know how many is in an American pack. I used to smoke at least 75 cigarettes a day, our strongest brand. Of course, we didn’t have all the chemicals in ours that you have in yours, only 2 or 3000. You were up to about 5000, last time I heard a count. I never did like yankee cigarettes, they burned up so fast you hardly got to smoke them. They didn’t sell your rolling tobacco in Canada, just tailor-mades. So no idea what you are really smoking.
                      Anyways, quit cold turkey one morning, never smoked since. No yearning, no nothing. Oh, I was addicted, but when I stopped, I stopped. Can’t even stand being around smokers anymore. They stink, lol.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • 20 is the norm in a U.S. pack, but I only get 17 into a pack, for the tubes I use are a bit wider than the commercial ones. The other thing I like about rolling my own, apart from the substantial cost savings, is that the tobacco I buy has far fewer chemicals and additives than the commercial cigs have. Every now and then I buy a pack or two of Marlboro if I’m lazy or run out of tobacco, and I can tell a difference in my breathing almost immediately. Hmph. I’ll have you know I do not stink! My clothes might, but I don’t. 😉

                      Like

                    • LOL. How about your hair? But yeah, I forgot it is mostly the clothes that stink. They absorb the smell of tobacco smoke, they they radiate it back out. That was just a tease.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Oh yeah … I forgot about my hair. Lately, I’ve been thinking about shaving my head, so that should take care of that problem, right? Sigh. It could be worse … I could work in a fishery.

                      Like

                    • A mushroom farm? Is there such a thing? We had a mushroom grow in a corner of the bathroom floor long time ago. It sprouted out of nowhere, and since the kids were little and ate anything they found, of course we pulled it immediately. The next day it came back! This went on for an entire summer, and then suddenly it was gone.

                      Like

                    • You don’t have mushroom farms in the USA? In a way it would not surprise me. But you are probably thinking of a wide open space kind of farm, acres and acres of growing plants in soil. Mushroom farms are enclosed in buildings, generally big buildings. Instead of soil, the buildings are packed with manure. Nobody wants them anywhere close to where they live. Yet mushrooms are almost a delicacy. One of my favourite foods.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Heck, I don’t know! I thought all mushrooms just grew wildly in the forest and people went and dug ’em up! Who knew they were grown in buildings? Well, you obviously knew. Yes, we love ‘shrooms too, and I cook with them often … spaghetti sauce, risotto, salads, pasta alfredo …

                      Like

                    • pizza, omelettes, sliced and fried as a sidedish, mushroom gravy, even deep-fried, but we don”t do that at home–yet. We’ll try them that way tomorrow, in our Actifry machine.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ah … YES to all of the above, and I think deep-fried is my favourite! I’ve tried it once or twice at home, but the batter doesn’t stick to well … so I usually just have them from a place called Wings ‘n Rings ‘n Things. Let me know how yours turned out … perhaps I’ll try them again one day soon.

                      Like

    • P.S. You’d have been proud of me, though … I did go out and try to stop them, called them every name I could think of, but … they had a job to do, and it wasn’t their fault.

      Like

  3. Benjamin and I had previously read about the wondrous accomplishment by today’s Good People, Mr. Salgado. Benjamin was very excited watching the video, as I narrated and edited it for his understanding. His comprehension of the content rivals that of many adults. I credit that to sharing the importance of environmentalism beginning at a young age through sources such as this post. As we scrolled to the bottom, he spied a comment that caught his attention : “Gem, wait a minute! That is “My Jodi”! Is she visiting Miss Jill’s Good People too?” I have a suggestion for those that can not plant a tree in their own yard. “Trees for a Change” is a site that provides an opportunity to purchase and dedicate a tree as a gift to someone. The recipient can find their tree’s location, photos and their name on the tree registry. A single tree or groups of trees are planted in a US National Forest that has been damaged by fire. This helps the environment in many ways. Now B-enjamin wants to revisit Bee Happy! Thank-you x 2!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • That Benjamin is way ahead of his years, and I think at least partial credit must go to his Gem! Thanks for the heads-up on Trees For A Change … I will look into it! Another reader mentioned Woodland Trust. I haven’t looked into that yet, either, but I’m wondering if it may be only in the UK. Anyway, I will check them both out. I wondered if B-enjamin might notice His Jodi on my post! She seems so sweet … thank you for putting me onto her blog!

      Like

  4. I saw this and here’s a link to another article on the same website I follow. It’s wonderful what some people do.
    https://mymodernmet.com/amazon-rainforest-reforestation/

    When my husband and I retired years back to NC, he planted about 100 trees on our property…just little guys that are all grown up now, I’m sure. I am no longer up there after he passed, but have continued in some small way here by planting lots of plants, bromeliads and some crepe myrtles. I love to garden. Too bad you aren’t in a position to enjoy it. I know you would.

    Thanks for these uplifting posts. We need them .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for sharing that, Mary! So good to see these things taking place in spite of the naysayers. I do just a small bit of gardening, or should I say my granddaughter does it for me, since I have NOT got a green thumb. I’m allowed to water the flowers, but not to otherwise touch them. 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

  5. WOWWW! Look what a difference Sebastião made! Soooo inspiring! Thank you for sharing! Gives us all hope! And thanks for sharing my blog as well! So wonderful to “meet” you. Look forward to reading more and getting to know you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for dropping by! And sharing your post was most definitely my pleasure. My blog is very political, but on Wednesdays I try to focus on good people, to remind us that they are out there, that the whole world is not defined by the likes of our politicians. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Been to visit Bee Happy. I love the idea of land being restored, I have read about this project, an deal choice for your blog Jill. If you don’t own even a window box you can sponsor a tree. We give trees from the Woodland Trust as presents. I have a few baby trees growing and lots of flowers, cramming as much as possible into our tiny plot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the heads up on Woodland Trust … I shall check it out. And thumbs up to you for planting trees & flowers! We always cram our little postage-stamp yard full of all sorts of flowers each spring. 🙂 🌻🌷🌼🌹🌸🌺

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s