(Image by Frederic Back from http://www.fredericback.ca)
The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono, is a moving parable of how one person can help to restore the damaged Earth. It tells the story of Elzeard Bouffier, laboring in solitude and silence for thirty years, who replants a desolate region.
"It was his opinion that this land was dying for want of trees. He added that, having no very pressing business of his own, he had resolved to remedy this state of affairs."
By the simple act of planting trees, the countryside is transformed. "Instead of the dry wind that used to attack, a gentle breeze was blowing, laden with scents ... The old streams, fed by the rains and snows the forest conserves, are flowing again."
An animated film by Frederic Back, with original music by Normand Roger, is available in both English and French. The English translation is slightly different than that published by Chelsea Green. A book featuring illustrations from the film is available from the same source. In the US, contact Direct Cinema Limited (800-525-0000 or 310-396-4774).
A CD and audio cassette include the story narrated by Robert J. Lurtsema, with music by the Paul Winter Consort. Contact Living Music (860-567 8796)The most widely-known English translation is published by Chelsea Green Publishing Company (800-639-4099) with woodcut illustrations by Michael McCurdy.
Giorno, of course, wrote the original in French: L'Homme Qui Plantait Des Arbres is published by Gallimard-Jeunesse with illustrations by Willi Glasauer.