Ethiopian-born American citizen Gashaw Tahir traveled back to his homeland several years ago and was shocked at the massive deforestation that had taken place since his departure. Rivers have dried, mountains have been deforested, and rising temperatures due to climate change are making plant life more difficult to maintain. Tahir decided that something had to be done.
“My ultimate vision is making Africa green again,” he says. “That inspires me, touches me, and moves me into action.” He gathered young people from his hometown, only a few dozen at first, but those young people recruited their friends and family until there were hundreds. On only two acres of land, they planted thousands of seedlings. Now, Tahir owns 11,000 acres of Ethiopian land on which his group has planted one million trees.
“You see, one person can enroll other people,” Tahir says. “Outreach to them for a vision. And he can lead, and other people follow and they can make a difference. You can do a lot. I planted over a million trees, hired over 450 young people, and made a difference in the ecology. That’s what I have done. If one man can do this with collaboration, we can make a huge difference.”