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One Man Stops Drought And Brings Fortune to Village By Planting 11,000 Trees Over 19 Years

Elias Marat

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In the rural countryside of Indonesia, one elderly man is taking it upon himself to rehabilitate a landscape ravaged by mismanagement.

Indonesian land defender Sadiman was once viewed suspiciously as a madman by his fellow villagers in the hilltops of Central Java, but the man is now lovingly referred to as “mbah” or “grandfather” by locals after his 24-year quest to turn the barren hills into a verdant landscape.

The region was ruined after land-clearance fires denuded the region and nearly turned its rivers, streams and lakes dry, inspiring the elderly eco-warrior to take it upon himself to cover the area in trees.

“I thought to myself, if I don’t plant banyan trees, this area would become dry,” Sadiman told Reuters while clad in his ranger hat and safari shirt.

“In my experience, banyan trees and ficus trees can store a lot of water.”

So far, Sadiman has planted over 11,000 banyan and ficus trees across the 617-acre region in a bid to keep groundwater in the area and prevent the further erosion of precious land.

His efforts have already bore fruit, literally, with springs being left in his wake in what had previously been drought-stricken land. Locals now have access to water for their homes and for their agricultural plots of land.

Superstitious villagers had originally been less than appreciative of his work.

“People ridiculed me for bringing banyan tree seeds to the village, because they felt uneasy as they believed there are spirits in these trees,” Sadiman said.

Rumors even spread that Sadiman was a lunatic because he bartered saplings for goats, according to neighboring villager Warto.

“In the past people thought he was crazy, but look at the result now,” Warto added. “He is able to provide clean water to meet the needs of the people in several villages.”

Sadiman is proud that his work has brought prosperity and abundance to his neighbors, who now enjoy two or three harvests per year rather than just one.

“I hope the people here can have prosperous lives and live happily. And don’t burn the forest over and over again,” Sadiman said.

The region was ruined after land-clearance fires denuded the region and nearly turned its rivers, streams and lakes dry, inspiring the elderly eco-warrior to take it upon himself to cover the area in trees.

“I thought to myself, if I don’t plant banyan trees, this area would become dry,” Sadiman told Reuters while clad in his ranger hat and safari shirt.

“In my experience, banyan trees and ficus trees can store a lot of water.”

So far, Sadiman has planted over 11,000 banyan and ficus trees across the 617-acre region in a bid to keep groundwater in the area and prevent the further erosion of precious land.

His efforts have already bore fruit, literally, with springs being left in his wake in what had previously been drought-stricken land. Locals now have access to water for their homes and for their agricultural plots of land.

Superstitious villagers had originally been less than appreciative of his work.

“People ridiculed me for bringing banyan tree seeds to the village, because they felt uneasy as they believed there are spirits in these trees,” Sadiman said.

Rumors even spread that Sadiman was a lunatic because he bartered saplings for goats, according to neighboring villager Warto.

“In the past people thought he was crazy, but look at the result now,” Warto added. “He is able to provide clean water to meet the needs of the people in several villages.”

Sadiman is proud that his work has brought prosperity and abundance to his neighbors, who now enjoy two or three harvests per year rather than just one.

“I hope the people here can have prosperous lives and live happily. And don’t burn the forest over and over again,” Sadiman said.

Good News

Cliffhanger: Mountain Biker Saved From “Imminent Death” After Falling Into Canyon

Elias Marat

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A Southern California mountain biker is likely counting his blessings after he was rescued from what authorities describe as “imminent death”” after falling from the side of a cliff in the Angeles National Forest.

The mountain biker, described as an older man, fell into the canyon at Mt. Wilson on Thursday morning and was dangling hundreds of feet above the ground before his fellow bikers, and eventually a special team from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, rescued him.

For some time the man dangled by a thin cord around his ankle that was tied to his bicycle while hanging on for dear life “like a cat,” Capt. Tom Giandomenico of the LASD special enforcement bureau told the Los Angeles Times.

“He knew he was in such a precarious situation. He was just scared to even rotate his head to look at us. He just didn’t want to move a muscle,” LASD Deputy Richard Thomsen told CBSLA.

Additionally, when the helicopter team arrived it wasn’t just a matter of simply hoisting the man to safety, as the air generated by the helicopter’s rotor would have sent the man plummeting to “imminent death,” Giandomenico added.

“Because he was head-down on the rock face there, that dropped probably a good 40 feet before it hit some soft dirt and a boulder,” Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Helbring said. “And beyond that was hundreds of feet down to the bottom of the canyon.”

Instead, one of the members of the special enforcement team composed of former SWAT officers devised a plan to rappel down to the man and move him to a ledge below, from which the two could be airlifted to safety.

However, due to a lack of boulders or trees, there was nothing to tie a rope to – and thus no way to rappel down to anything.

So instead, the special enforcement team used the man’s brother and another friend to be their anchor, a plan that ultimately succeeded.

Giandomenico called the rescue “one of the more significant, courageous maneuvers I’ve seen.”

“Heroic, in my opinion,” he added.

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Animals

Rare Creature Photographed Alive In The Wild For The First Time Ever

Elias Marat

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Advances in the methods used by researchers to watch wildlife have allowed for the photographing of a rare creature whose image had never been captured in the wild before.

Researchers in the West African nation of Togo were able to spot the rare Walter’s duiker, a rare species of petite African antelope, for the first time in the wild thanks to camera traps equipped with motion sensors.

In addition to the Walter’s duiker, the camera traps were also able to discover rare species of aardvarks and a mongoose, reports Gizmodo.

At a time when the extinction of entire species is becoming more common worldwide, such devices should help conservationists not only preserve creatures sought by bushmeat hunters but also spot rare animals whose presence is elusive for human observers. In the past, biologists were forced to rely on the same hunters for information.

“Camera traps are a game changer when it comes to biodiversity survey fieldwork,” said University of Oxford wildlife biologist Neil D’Cruze.

“I’ve spent weeks roughing it in tropical forests seemingly devoid of any large mammal species,” D’Cruze continued. “Yet when you fire up the laptop and stick in the memory card from camera traps that have been sitting there patiently during the entire trip—and see species that were there with you the entire time —it’s like being given a glimpse into a parallel world.”

The Walter’s duiker was discovered in 2010 when specimens of bushmeat were compared to other duiker specimens. The new images of the creature are the first to have been seen.

Rare species like Walter’s duiker are often not listed as “endangered” by groups like the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to a lack of data.

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Good News

Formerly Homeless Man Enjoys New Life In First 3D-Printed Home In US

Elias Marat

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A formerly homeless man is now enjoying his advanced years in a comfortable, entirely 3D-printed tiny home – the very first of its kind in the entire U.S.

Tim Shea, 70, has struggled for much of his life with substance abuse, addiction, and homelessness.

However, the previously unhoused man is now the first person to live in a 3D-printed tiny home, which is now being touted as a model of engineering and sustainability, reports Green Matters.

The 400-square-foot 3D-printed tiny home was printed by nonprofit New Story and construction technology company ICON in the Austin, Texas, area in March 2018 before Shea moved into the location in September.

In 2019, New Story and ICON have also printed a similar community of tiny homes in Mexico, hoping to make good on the use of the technology as a tool to provide homes to the extremely poor.

According to Shea, his new domicile has made all the difference in the world.

“When I found out I’d be the first person in America to move into a 3D-printed home, I thought it was pretty awesome,” Shea told NY Post. “The very people I used to run away from, I’m running to. If you’ve been on both sides of the fence, you know some people just need a little encouragement and support.”

From start to finish, the process of printing and assembling these homes takes only 48 hours and relies on only 70 to 80 percent of the raw building material that conventional housing requires.

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