If there is one thing Hikmet Kaya has proven to the world, it is that good intentions and hard work can bring great results.
A retired Turkish forest manager poses proudly in front of the barren land that he and his team have transformed into a lush forest. He began his career in 1978 in the city of Sinop, and although he retired 19 years later, his legacy has literally continued to grow.
Working with his team and villagers, he brought and planted 30,000,000 seedlings during his tenure. Long after his retirement, these trees continued to grow forgetting that it once was a barren land.
During his 19 years of reforestation, Kaya has never stopped working. And 41 years after he began this ambitious reforestation project, he returned to the now lush land with an image of a once-barren environment, showing how vast the differences in the landscape are. Needless to say, he is very happy with the results.
This is a great example for the rest of the country. Turkey has seen a 5.4% decline in tree cover since 2000, according to Global Forest Watch. Most of this decline has been caused by deforestation, so helping to reverse it is crucial.
Fighting deforestation often comes down to changing government policy, so it's important that people know who they're voting for and that their environmental concerns are heard. However, that hasn't stopped people from taking matters into their own hands and taking action. From India to Ghana to China, people are stepping up and planting trees to change the world for the better.