This is a film worth watching and a life worth following. Forest Man tells the story of Jadav Payeng and the 1,360 acre forest he planted on Majuli Island in Northeast India. The island, the largest river island on Earth, has lost nearly half its mass these last 100 years to erosion. Jadav’s Molai Forest is his call to action, his solution to erosion and more. Like The Man Who Planted Trees, Jadav has singlehandedly planted and tended thousands of trees and the forest is now home to rhinoceros, Bengal tigers, deer, rabbits, birds and visiting elephants.
In both stories, Forest Man and The Man Who Planted Trees, the creation of a forest one tree at a time builds an ecosystem, changing the character of the landscape and nearby communities. Promise has taken the place of concern. However unlike Elzéard Bouffier in The Man Who Planted Trees the story of Jadav Payeng is real.
It’s the good stuff. No Kim Kardashian dirt or who’s voted off Top Chef — the good stuff. A person planting trees one by one for over 30 years, growing a forest — now a habitat thriving with understory plants and wildlife.
I vote for opening doors and hearts to this story and others like it. One by one they could work together to remedy larger, global issues. Saving the world one forest at a time? Or maybe even one garden at a time? I like the sound of that.