19 Incredible Human Accomplishments

© Shutterstock

Human beings can have an incredible capacity for creative problem solving, amazing accomplishment, and incredible feats of strength. Want your 1992 Honda Civic to get 95 MPG? No problem. Feel like going 2500 miles using only human pedal power, and no fossil fuels? Can do. Know of an entire species that needs saving? Just ask this guy how he did it.

Yep, people can do pretty amazing things when they set their sights on it. These are some of our favorite (sometimes crazy) human accomplishments.

Man Relocates Hundreds of Trees by Himself

© Bernie O'Brien

51-year-old Bernie O'Brien is a one-man tree-rescuing machine. The Seattleite has saved nearly 500 trees from the chainsaw or bulldozer by simply digging them up and replanting them on the property that surrounds his house -- he even has a Craigslist ad to help track them down.

Indian Man Single-Handedly Plants a 1,360 Acre Forest

PhBasumata/CC BY 3.0

Jadav "Molai" Payeng has dedicated the last 30 years of his life to planting trees, and he has a pretty substantial accomplishment to show for it: A sprawling 1,360 acres of jungle that he planted by himself.

Modern Johnny Appleseed Has Planted 13,849 Trees

sneakerdog / CC BY 2.0

Not to be outdone, Gene DeSantis has been busily planting trees in the Baltimore area for the last three decades, and he's tallied an incredible 13,849 saplings planted in that time. My back hurts just thinking about it.

Pakistani Soldier Plants 20,101 Trees in One Day!

USFS Region 5/CC BY 2.0 Can you imagine doing this 20,000 times in a row?

Taking it a step even further, Muhammed Yousuf Jamil, a Lance Naik (Lance Corporal) in the Pakistani Army, single-handedly planted an astounding 20,101 tree saplings in 18 hours and 40 minutes -- that's more than 18 trees per minute! Perhaps unsurprisingly, that feat of focus and endurance was enough to earn him a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records, and, for good measure, a promotion.

Volunteers in India Plant 50,000 Trees in 30 Minutes

praveen / CC BY 2.0 The trees were planted near here, in hilly terrain that can be subject to flash flooding.

One person can definitely plant a lot of trees, right? So it makes sense that many people can really plant a lot of trees: These volunteers in India teamed up to plant an astonishing 50,000 trees in just about 30 minutes! The speedy planting was also enough to secure a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Pakistani Villagers Set World Record For Tree-Hugging

© Zafar Iqbal

Sure, planting trees is great, but there may no act of greater green symbolism than tree-hugging. Just ask the thousand-plus Pakistani villagers who gathered earlier this year to give a tree a squeeze in an act of solidarity and support for nature.

86 Year-Old Turns Island into Tortoise Sanctuary

Brendon Grimshaw, originally from Yorkshire, UK, bought a tiny tropical island in the Indian Ocean called Moyenne in 1962 for £8000. Since then, he's become a real-life Robinson Cruesoe, turning his island into a tortoise sanctuary, and it's now one of the world's smallest national parks.

Man Relocates 30,000 Bees Found Living in His Attic

dni777/CC BY 2.0

Relocating tens of thousands of bees from an attic in one day using a special bee-vaccuum? Just another day in the office for Busy Bees NJ, a company that specializes in saving our friendly pollinators from further collapse.

Man Builds House Out of Shredded Money

It's like I always say: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you a global economic crisis, a gloomy real estate market, and an uncertain currency future, make a house out of shredded-up decommissioned money.

Man Single-Handedly Saves Snail Species

Wikimedia Commons/via

One kiddie pool aquarium + one very dedicated scientist + a couple decades of work = one freshwater snail species that otherwise would probably be extinct.

Firefighters Rescue 1,000 Year-Old Tree from Drought

"The Big Tree" has been growing just outside Rockport, Texas for over a 1,000 years. Last year's drought nearly did the iconic tree in until some scrupulous firefighters took action and saved it.

Man Pedals 2,500 Miles Across the U.S.

Tom Weis pedaled his nifty 'Rocket Trike' -- a recumbent three-wheeler -- from Boulder, Colorado to Washington, D.C., covering the 2,500 miles without a single drop of fossil fuels.

Kenyan Man Builds Himself an Airplane from Scratch

42 year-old Gabriel Nderitu has always wanted to fly; rather than relying on someone else to take him, he just pieced together his own plane from scratch.

Student-Built Eco Car Gets 2,487.5 MPG

Students from Laval University in Quebec, Canada built an amazing car for the Shell Eco-Marathon. Rather than measuring fuel efficiency in two or even three digits, their car gets a jaw-dropping 2,487.5 miles per gallon.

Woman Kills 4 Million Mosquitos in a Month

Gamma Man/CC BY 2.0

Huang Yuyen, a pig farmer from Taiwan, won a prize for dispatching over 4 million mosquitos in a month, a catch that netted 3 pounds, 5 ounces of mosquito carcasses and a $3,000 cash prize.

Team Treks the Length of the Amazon River

Over 850 days and 4,000 miles, Ed Stafford -- joined part-way through his trek by Peruvian Gadiel ' Cho ' Sanchez Rivera -- slogged the entire length of the Amazon River; the two are the first to have recorded the entire journey.

Man Saves Humpback Whale Trapped in Net

Australian Peter Brown took a break from an otherwise peaceful day of sailing to rescue a humpback whale who had become entangled in a shark net. In intrepid Brown actually dove in to the water to finish the job, using little more than a kitchen knife and his bare hands to save the whale.

Man Hacks Civic to Get 95 MPG

What do you do if you want your '92 Honda Civic to get better gas mileage? Just be like Mike Turner, and hack it into an AeroCivic that gets 95 miles per gallon.

So, people accomplish amazing (sometimes crazy) things every day -- which one did you like best? Let us know in the comments and keep reaching for the stars!

Tags: Amazonia | Biking | Conservation | Endangered Species | Forestry | Fuel Efficiency | Human-Powered | India | Seattle

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