The Green Man, Diredawa’s environmental hero aspires to achieve global goals

Bayan Tesema, a resident of Diredawa City, has earned a nickname that resonates with his remarkable achievements: “The Green Man.” Through his tireless dedication to reforestation and environmental conservation he has transformed two hectares of once degraded land into a captivating forest, earning him admiration and recognition within the community.

The name “Green Man” was given to Bayan by the people of Diredawa, who witnessed the miraculous conversion of a flood drain and garbage dump into a lush forest. Through the planting of over 20,000 saplings, Bayan has created a green oasis that stands as a testament to the power of community-driven environmental initiatives.

The impetus behind Bayan’s mission can be traced back to the devastating flood that struck Diredawa in 2006. The disaster claimed the lives of seven close family members, leaving the community in mourning and the region in a state of desolation. However, Bayan’s cousin managed to save his own life and that of his children by climbing a tree. This incident served as a catalyst for Bayan’s unwavering commitment to reforestation, firmly believing that the presence of trees could have saved many lives during the flood.

In the year 2007/2008, which is 2000 E.C or the celebration of Millennium according to Ethiopian calendar, the government launched a nationwide campaign encouraging citizens to plant two saplings each. But Bayan passionately requested two thousand saplings. In a remarkable display of determination, he planted those saplings in a single day, in one of the neighborhoods of Diredawa known as “Number One.”

Reflecting on his accomplishment, Bayan humbly states, “I am happier than people who have billions of dollars because everything I plant will grow; this plant serves the heavens of life.” He has planted an astounding 650,000 seedlings up to this point and has distributed numerous saplings to the local community, engaging them in his mission.

He aspires to exceed the records of Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Mathai, who holds the world record for planting three million saplings, by planting about 3.4 million trees. With unwavering determination, Bayan predicts achieving this remarkable feat within the next decade, all while expressing gratitude for the life bestowed upon him by Allah.

The green area created through the planting of more than 20,000 trees has been named “Elenam” Park by the local community. The name carries two significant meanings, the first being in the acronym of the Amharic phrase which can be translated to English as “Ethiopia is always green,” and the second, in the language of the Kebena nationality, translating to “We will reach those who think of us.” Bayan further reveals that their youngest child will be named Elenam, symbolizing their commitment to the cause.

For the past 17 years, Bayan has dedicated himself enthusiastically to the development of this forest. Witnessing the growth of the forest he created, he expresses a sense of profound satisfaction, regarding it as the lungs of Diredawa. Moreover, he believes that with the cooperation of the city administration, he can create the mini “Amazons” in all kebeles of Diredawa.

In a remarkable display of his commitment to the cause, Bayan ensures that the four workers employed in the park receive a monthly salary of 18,000 birr. To sustain this, he occasionally saves income generated from by selling saplings to hotels, organizations, and individuals. Additionally, he receives support from charitable organizations. Remarkably, he does not expect monetary compensation for his nursery work, emphasizing the essential value he derives from his mission.

The Green Man and his team firmly believe in their ability to reforest an area within three years. They are eager to venture beyond Diredawa and plant saplings in other parts of Ethiopia, spreading their message of environmental stewardship and hope.

Bayan’s cousin, Mohammed, who served as the catalyst for Bayan’s entry into forestry, shares his own tragic story. A victim of the 2006 flood, Mohammed lost his wife and two children. However, this devastating event compelled him to join Bayan in planting trees that could save human lives. Despite the uncertainty of many who doubted Bayan’s ability to transform the barren landscape, Mohammed expresses admiration for his cousin’s unwavering determination, addressing him as a source of inspiration.

Bayan, a devoted father of three sons and three daughters, finds solace in the fact that his youngest daughter, Elenam, has followed in his footsteps. Displaying a deep concern for the privileged, she displays a special love for those in need while also exploring the medicinal properties of various plants through traditional practices.

As an ambassador for green initiatives, Bayan uses the theme, “Plant a tree, as the time has got worse,” which simply reminds the imminent threat posed by climate change in numerous languages to spread the message of planting trees for society. He acknowledges that his greatest challenge lies in water accessibility. After conducting a volunteer study, Bayan discovered that groundwater is available at distances ranging from 52 to 80 meters in different locations. Solving this water problem would enable him to rush his ambitious plan of planting three million four hundred thousand saplings within a shorter timeframe.

In recognition of his extraordinary efforts, Bayan was awarded a Green Ambassador Certificate by the federal government during the celebration of International Green Day in 2022. His commitment to environmental protection, cleanliness, and beauty has gathered appreciation and support from various organizations.

According to a government report, through the annual mobilization of over 25 million citizens nationwide, 32.5 billion seedlings have been planted in five years as part of the tree-planting program to address food security and reduce the impacts of climate change.

The implementation of the National Green Legacy Program has been successful in reducing deforestation, encouraging reforestation, and enhancing natural habitats that can combat climate change and the effects of carbon emissions. These habitats are home to numerous plant and animal species and are a major source of biodiversity.

The reforestation efforts under the Green Legacy initiative have numerous benefits for Ethiopia. They help to restore ecosystems, conserve biodiversity, and protect watersheds, which are crucial for water availability, soil fertility, and enhancing the agricultural production of the country. Reforestation also contributes to carbon sequestration.

In addition, green infrastructure and sustainable land use practices can mitigate reliance on non-renewable sources of energy, providing oxygen, food, water, clean air, and medication. Also, it’s to create a healthier and more sustainable future for ourselves and for generations to come.

Bayan stands as a shining example of how one individual’s unwavering dedication can transform desolation into vibrant greenery. His mission to plant millions of trees and restore hope has captured the hearts and minds of the community. As he continues to inspire others, Bayan remains dedicated in his pursuit of a greener, more sustainable future for Ethiopia and beyond.

Communities across the country can draw inspiration from the experience of Bayan and adopt measures to safeguard their natural resources. By doing so, they can contribute to the overall well-being of their region and the nation as a whole. By embracing environmentally friendly agricultural practices, they can enhance productivity and generate income through the production of various agricultural products. This, in turn, boosts the local economy and reduces reliance on external sources for food security.

Furthermore, the conservation of ecosystems helps combat the adverse effects of climate change and land degradation that pose significant threats to agriculture, including extreme weather events, shifting rainfall patterns, and temperature fluctuations. By protecting local resources, communities can create resilient ecosystems that are better equipped to withstand these challenges. Conservation efforts, such as reforestation, soil conservation, and water management, contribute to mitigating climate change and preserving biodiversity.

Besides, communities should follow the example set by Bayan and prioritize the protection of their local resources. This approach not only strengthens the economy by promoting agricultural diversification and food security but also through addressing the pressing issues of climate change and land degradation. By working together, communities can create sustainable and resilient environments that benefit both present and future generations.



Recommended For You