This is the sort of news that gives me the message I can now die happy (image linked to site):

It’s a counter, if you will, to the wall that is a central tussle in the land of the free and the brave- and the not always clever. The clever answer to big issues concerning economic resources is, as the Great Green Wall shows, to anchor abundance. Step out of the old win-lose paradigm into the new win-win reality. Otherwise, the constant need to maintain boundaries and property claims just leaches human and other resources down the drain. It’s simply unsustainable. It’s the old warring way of life, which is, of course, destructive.

This news touches me so very deeply in part because I was one of Jean Giono’s biggest suckers, back in the day. Jean is (or was) the author of The Man Who Planted Trees. It’s a tale of one Frenchman who co-revived (his partner being the trees) an ecosystem through decades of daily planting trees in a desertified landscape. When the land naturally revived and beautified, people started to build towns upon the land, and enjoy the new life-enhancing ecosystems secretly seeded by Giono’s fictional character Elzeard Bouffier. It tells the story of a man who found a third way; a person dedicating his life to improving his tiny corner of the world regardless of anonymity, and in loving partnership with Gaia.

I say I was a sucker because Giono wrote in the first person, and effectively, of course. For years Giono let his audience believe that the story was autobiographical. Ah, those innocent days:

The story itself is so touching that many readers have believed that Elzéard Bouffier was a genuine historical figure and that the narrator of the story was a young Jean Giono himself, and that the tale is part autobiographical. Certainly, Giono lived during this time. While he was alive, Giono enjoyed allowing people to believe that the story was real, and considered it as a tribute to his skill. His daughter, Aline Giono, described it as “a family story for a long time”. However, Giono himself explained in a 1957 letter to an official of the city of Digne:

Sorry to disappoint you, but Elzéard Bouffier is a fictional person. The goal was to make trees likeable, or more specifically, make planting trees likeable.

If you’d like to watch and/or listen to his story, here it is on YouTube:

The recording above featuring The Paul Winter Consort is pretty great, too.

The reality of The Great Green Wall is, for me, all the hopes seeded by Giono’s story long ago in my youth, now realized, in technicolor and on a far grander scale than I could have imagined. You can donate and/or sign a pledge in support of the Wall here.

I already support an organization that is planting trees in several counties, TreeSisters, find them at Currently, Tree Sisters is planting trees in Brazil, Madagascar, Kenya, India, Nepal, and Cameroon.

I use a tree planting browser extension,

And doing research for this article I stumbled on another tree advocate from here in Northern Michigan; David Milarch. David has the attention-grabbing experience of an inspirational NDE, a near death experience. Angels told him of the need to preserve the “champion” trees; those that have lived for millennia, those that were seeded sometimes thousands of years ago. Thus his organization is titled Archangel Ancient Tree Archive. It’s a “non-profit organization that locates and propagates the world’s largest and most iconic trees. ” The website is pretty informative. Here’s Milarch on TEDx:

Milarch is featured in a book by Jim Robbins; it had a somewhat different title in the first publication, it seems. I’m going to get it ordered up at my local library.

Well, excuse me, I’m just going to bask in some good, old-fashioned gratitude now. Whenever anyone brings up the hateful sad-face-wall,

I will think of this so much greater, loving, happy face wall.

And thanks to some loving and clever folks and the tremendous ancient power of Gaia’s marvelous tree-beings, all shall be well again in my world, both large and small.