Sometimes you come across a story that leaves you (almost) speechless.Â I am a writer, after all.Â Although this story appeared in the April 1, 2012 edition of ‘The Indian Times‘, it’s no April Fool’s joke.Â One man, two hands, two feet and thirty years created a 550 ha (~1360 acre) forest in rural India.Â By himself.Â Jadav ‘Molai’ Payeng began by planting bamboo when he was 16, then when that had grown he began planting, watering and pruning tree seedlings.Â He brought in red ants from his village to help the soil.Â Nature built the rest.Â The full story is in the Indian Times article.
I salute him.
He’s not alone in his work, though. Wangari Maathai began the ‘Green Belt Movement‘ in Kenya, and it’s now become an international organization.Â Although Ms. Maathai is no longer with us, the GBM continues its goal of planting one billion trees internationally.Â In Indonesia, Willie Smits and the Masarang Foundation are helping local communities, wildlife and the rainforest, and the people of Vakan’Ala (‘Pearls of the Forest) are doing similar work in Madagascar.Â Amazing.
P.S. You can read Jean Giono’s fictional story, ‘The Man Who Planted Trees‘ and a similar one, ‘Where the Sun Spilled Gold‘, by following the links.