Changing the world, one tree at a time

Changing the world, one tree at a time

When I contemplate the vast array of issues plaguing humanity these days, most notably: climate change, I often feel overwhelmed and powerless. I wonder, “How can I, just one small person, even begin to understand how I can impact positive change on a greater scale?” Some days, the vastness of the issue and that question is crippling.

But when those feelings arise, I try to remind myself that there is hope contained in even asking such questions.

Jean Giono’s The Man Who Planted Trees reminds me that I do indeed have the power to create change. We all do. The Man Who Planted Trees, a fable originally published in French in 1954, tells the story of Elzeard Bouffier, a widowed man who single-handedly restores land high in the French Alps by lovingly planting 100 seeds a day for over 20 years. While his story is fictional and decades old, Giono has much to teach us about how constant, tender care of our planet can literally end up changing the world.

You can watch a beautifully illustrated video version of the story below:

One line of Giono’s that stands out to me is “Men could be as effective as God in tasks other than destruction.” When I read the news, I tend to feel bombarded with information that supports the opposite of this notion – humans can be quite a destructive species. But just as each of us holds the power to chop down a tree, we also hold the power to plant one. It is up to us what kind of actions we choose to take, what kind of legacy we choose to leave.

And while the fictional Mr. Bouffier shows us that we can make these choices individually, we are far from alone in our efforts to make our planet a healthier and happier one. That’s what PropagationNation is all about – connecting changemakers who dare to dream of a better world and are willing to take action to make it a reality.

I dare you, dear friend, to join us in this pursuit. Planting trees is only one part of the puzzle, but it is far from an insignificant one. Just as Elzeard Bouffier was able to bear witness to the bountiful ecosystem he helped to establish, we will someday be able to bear witness to the carbon sequestering powerhouse forests that the PropagationNation community is establishing in the Northwest, undoubtedly helping the planet and the people to breathe easier for generations to come.

Besides, you know what they say: 20 years from now, we will be very glad to have started today. I can’t wait to see you there.


Liv Haltermon
PropagationNation Staff

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