Jadav Payeng lives on the biggest river island in the world, Majuli. He was 16 in 1979 when he encountered a large number of snakes that had died due to excessive heat after floods washed them onto the tree-less sandbar. Over the last 70 years, Majuli has shrunk by more than half and there are concerns it will be submerged in the next 20 years. Due to the extensive soil erosion on its banks, the island is under constant threat. The reason for this is thought to be the large embankments built in towns up the Brahmaputra River to protect them during the monsoon season which redirect the devastating fury of the river to the islet. Over 35 villages have been washed away since 1991. And while Indian authorities are trying to figure out how to save the island, its life may have even been shorter if it wasn’t for one local environmental activist. Then and there, Jadav made it his life’s mission to save Majuli from erosion by planting trees. Working tirelessly every day, he has planted 550 hectares of forest – larger than Central Park in New York City (340 hectares). And he has been doing it every day for the last 39 years. Now it has become home to several animals like Bengal tigers, Indian rhinoceros, and even a herd of over 100 elephants regularly visit it every year.