Staying the course

Once considered crazy by fellow villagers, Indonesian eco-warrior Sadiman has turned barren hills green after 24 years of effort, making water resources available in the drought-prone mountainous region where he lives.

Affectionately addressed as ‘mbah’ or ‘grandpa’, the 69-year-old has worked relentlessly to plant trees in the hills of central Java after fires to clear the land for cultivation nearly dried up its rivers and lakes.

“I thought to myself, if I don’t plant banyan trees, this area would become dry,” said Sadiman, wearing his trademark ranger hat and safari shirt, who goes by one name, like many Indonesians.