4 Incredible Examples Of Individuals Improving Life On Earth

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by Christian Markle

It’s no secret that humanity can do a pretty crappy job at taking care of the planet. We created a hole in the ozone layer, have wiped out entire forests, and are directly responsible for the extinction of entire species. Collectively, we’re kind of bad at this whole “coexisting” thing.

Once in a while, though, some rogue badass steps up and tips the scales in the right direction.


The Man Who Transplanted Hundreds Of Unwanted Trees

Getting from point A to point B has never been easier, which we suppose is how progress is supposed to work. Today, we have millions of miles of roadways and self-propelled metal beasts to carry us down them, but a few centuries back, making a cross-country trek could have very well meant a death sentence and was the type of future reserved for the plot of sci-fi films. You know, if movies had been around back then.

Such revolutionary innovation, however, comes with a hefty price, which it seems we’re pretty much willing to pay. Do you know how many trees have been cut down to make way for roads? We don’t either, but given humans are responsible for the loss of billions of trees every single year, we’d estimate the number hovers somewhere around “too many.”

Yes, we know that roads are critical to transportation, allowing us to connect with people from all over the world rather conveniently. But we also know that simply chopping down every available tree for convenience sake without thinking about the repercussions is probably a bad idea, because we really need trees for things like wildlife and humanity’s survival.



“You’re welcome.”

And we know it’s not just roads -- it’s industry and new construction and just because people don’t like the way some tree looks in their yard. That’s when Seattle man Bernie O’Brien springs into action, saving the immobile, helpless victims from being destroyed. Over the years, he’s rescued hundreds of trees, taken them home, and replanted them.

You might think that several hundred trees in a very specific geographical location is just a drop in the bucket given how many we destroy every year, and you’d be right. But remember, this is just one guy -- quite literally, in fact. O’Brien goes out, by himself, and digs huge trees up using nothing more than a shovel, a pickaxe, and his trusty old truck to get the job done. Not a single backhoe or bulldozer or Optimus Prime is ever involved -- he simply digs like a madman, throws them on the back of his pickup, and hauls them home.

The Woman Who Caught 4 Million Mosquitoes In A Month

Mosquitoes are just the worst, with their buzzing and biting and transmitting terrible diseases. They’re actually responsible for more deaths than murderers annually. And while things like malaria can have weird, unintended consequences on the world, we don’t think it’ll be an unpopular opinion to say that even though they are creatures of this Earth, they should probably stop being such jerks.

Tropical countries are very susceptible to this kind of calamity. To combat the dangers, multiple remedies and solutions have already been tried and tested. Needless to say, various products such as anti-mosquito lotion, insect killing tennis rackets, and other shenanigans have already been utilized. Some are inarguably stupid, in hindsight, but others are pure works of art.



Like these, but they can only do so much.

Huang Yuyen’s mosquito trap invention is the perfect example of a splendid contraption. This Taiwanese woman’s award-winning device earned her first place and 3,000 bucks in a contest held by an insect trap-making company. The contest was fairly simple: Make a mosquito trap to help alleviate Taiwan’s growing mosquito problem, and whoever catches the most, wins. Yuyen’s supertrap was able to snag a whopping 4 million mosquitoes, all within a single month. The total haul ended up weighing over three pounds, which may not sound like a lot, but these are mosquitoes we’re talking about and that’s heavy enough to use as a dumbbell.

People Who Saved Entire Species From Extinction

You probably don’t give snails a lot of thought unless you’re a fan of escargot. We mean, they’re snails -- just small, slimy creatures that are way too susceptible to death by way of salt.

But for one Andy Wood, snails are special. Back in 1996, North Carolina was devastated by Hurricane Fran which caused a significant amount of flooding. Concerned about the endangered ramshorn snails that had been hanging out in his backyard, he just waltzed right out into the flood waters to save every single snail he could. He only retrieved some, and many of those didn’t survive the ordeal, but the 12 that did were enough to begin rebuilding the population.

One Carl Jones is trying to do the same thing, only with less traipsing through floods but more types of species to save. This guy is a badass biologist that’s saved nine different animals and multiple plants from extinction. Granted, his approach is rather unconventional -- while other conservationists prefer to observe and learn why a population is declining first, Jones prefers to get in there and his hands dirty.




Jones’s approach is more of the “if they’re running out of food then let’s give them some freaking food” variety. This is at odds with convention, but Jones firmly believes that some animals are no longer on this planet because everyone just took too damn long. He compares it to treating a person with a medical issue: “Do you sit back and monitor a sick patient or do you treat them and see what works? A lot of species have been studied to extinction.”

Look, we’re not conservationists or biologists, but it is hard to argue with his results. Jones has saved more species than any person ever has. So convention be damned -- maybe if animals are going extinct because they don’t have a place to live we should go out and build them a place to live. Again, we’re no scientists, but the idea sure seems to be working out for Jones and the species he’s saved.

The Man Who Made An Entire Rainforest

Another child of man’s greed is widespread deforestation. We’ve continued to exploit forests and jungles until they’ve been stripped pretty much bare. There are no shortage of ways we’ve found to ruin them for the sake of profit. Hell, half of our rainforests are already gone.

And while there are efforts to preserve these crucial parts of nature, there are also individuals, like Antonio Vicente. He just so happens to be a normal guy who owns his own rainforest. And no, he’s not some multimillionaire who had one built behind his mansion. He was just in the right place at the right time, and dreamed big.

Back in 1973, Brazil’s military government sold a bunch of land on the cheap hoping to increase the country’s agricultural yield. Vicente took them up on the offer and bought a patch of land, snagging himself a cool 77 acres. However, he didn’t plan on making some crop field: The man wanted a freaking rainforest. People called him crazy, of course. And we don’t know the guy -- maybe he is.



No, not that kind of crazy.

Despite all the criticism and doubt, Vicente went to work on his land in São Paulo, and just kept right on working for the next four decades. Today, he can leisurely stroll around his own rainforest which features eight waterfalls. And yeah, maybe back in 1973 it sounded like a wacky idea, but if aspiring to and then actually creating your own tropical forest is insane, we think we might be, too.

Like this article? Check out “5 Modern Day Captain Planets Who Are Helping Save Nature” and “5 Plants That Are Better Rogues Than Any Human”.

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