Jean Giono, French author of The Man Who Planted Trees, originally published in 1954, tells the fable of Elzeard Bouffier, who plants trees high in the Alps because he sees how ruinous everything is without them. Here is a very artfully-done 30-minute video of his story.
Over the course of several decades he single-handedly plants hundreds of thousands of trees, and slowly the community of humans and animals around him comes back to life. It is interesting that Elzeard Bouffier continues his work of planting trees through two world wars and that the narrator notices that people in the village become more kindly and optimistic once the trees have grown.
“The Man Who Planted Trees is a charming story about the virtues of environmental stewardship and tireless service – both of which are very important. However, it is also a vision of the good things that happen when we care for the world around us, and take what was barren and make it green. I hope you will let the story of Elzeard Bouffier by Jean Giono inspire you to plant trees wherever you can.”
– Wangari Maathai, February 2005