Brazilian Man Plants 18,000 Trees to Help Save the Environment

His attitude changed the quality of life of a community and contributed to the planet’s sustainability

Karine Salles

Thursday | April 21, 2016 | 3:40 PM | Last update: September 22, 2016, 4:07 PM (Brasilia time)

With the world facing global warming, lack of water, climate change, and other problems, we can no longer talk about sustainable development as something distant or someone else’s responsibility. In fact, each one of us needs to write our own story to help save the planet; and we are all capable of doing great things. Do you want an example? 

Tired of the degrading and filthy conditions of a major avenue in a well-known neighborhood of São Paulo, Brazil, food company executive Hélio Silva decided to make it greener. When he looked at the place that seemed to be abandoned, he thought to himself, “I can change this and I’m going to.” 

So he set the goal of planting a large number of trees in order to bring back the landscape present in that region 200 years ago. As with any challenge, Hélio had to overcome a lot of obstacles. He told the team of reporters from the program Biosfera [Biosphere] on Boa Vontade TV that on two occasions all the trees he had planted were cut down; in all 600 were chopped down. Watch this story unfold:


Today the avenue has been transformed into the Tiquatira Linear Park, the first one in this category in São Paulo. After a lot of hard work, 18,000 trees of more than 170 native species of the Atlantic Forest make up an area suitable for walking, practicing sports, and leisure activities. The residents of the region now have a more attractive view than they did before! “After 12 years we notice that on weekends some 5,000 people walk here; there were just 50 before, and they were scared. . . . We’ve changed the appearance of this place and raised the self-esteem of the people,” he said.

Hélio guarantees that he is not going to stop and wants future generations to enjoy a better quality of life and to become inspired by his attitude. For decades educator Paiva Netto has been stating that “When we want to achieve something, we achieve it. Do not believe in the argument that it is difficult. Things are only difficult for difficult people. Simple people achieve extraordinary things.”  What is your story to help save the planet?