The Man Who Made a Forest

Hi Folks:

Sometimes you come across a story that leaves you (almost) speechless.  I am a writer, after all.  Although this story appeared in the April 1, 2012 edition of ‘The Indian Times‘, it’s no April Fool’s joke.  One man, two hands, two feet and thirty years created a 550 ha (~1360 acre) forest in rural India.  By himself.  Jadav ‘Molai’ Payeng began by planting bamboo when he was 16, then when that had grown he began planting, watering and pruning tree seedlings.  He brought in red ants from his village to help the soil.  Nature built the rest.  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.  Although Ms. Maathai is no longer with us, the GBM continues its goal of planting one billion trees internationally.  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.  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.

Being Green – A Hand Up

Hi Folks:

Well, since my absence from this area of our blog last Friday, in a way one could say this is last week’s ‘Being Green‘ post.

The phrase ‘A Hand Up, not a Handout‘ is a common one among those involved with programs around the world that help people improve their life situations, and in its own way it is a common thread running through all of them. There are many, MANY good programs around the world that are working in myriad ways, and while it’s impossible to profile all of them, I thought I’d mention a couple with the intent that these provide impetus for you to start your own search to find one that resonates with you. Many of these groups deal with food in one way or another, and while food may the most basic ‘green’ subject of all, the procurement of food is such a basic necessity that it can overlay other, larger concerns, like environmental destruction, deforestation, wildlife loss, etc. My own knowledge of this first came through a couple of friends who volunteered their time with a group called Plenty Canada. My friends and I have parted ways over the years, but at that time Plenty Canada was involved in a number of different projects around the world – from teaching farmers in Dominica to grow soybeans for consumption and sale rather than sugar for export – to installing wells and catchment basins for clean drinking water and planting fruit trees in Africa. I’m sure their work continues apace. Continue Reading →