We often hear about big global environmental issues such as deforestation, poaching or overfishing and forget that there are individuals at the heart of these activities.

Have you ever stopped to wonder what motivates someone to cut down trees in the first place? How often they contemplate the impact they’re having on the environment? And what experience or insights lead to change?

In the video above we meet one man who’s struggled to answer all of those questions.

Lloyd Maanyina, a Zambian based in the city of Livingstone near Victoria Falls, recounts his journey from tree cutter and charcoal burner to champion of the forest and now nursery operator.

“There is something I have to do for this world,” says Maanyina in the film. “Because I know I was created for a purpose. And not a purpose of destruction.”

The destruction he refers to is the cutting down of forests for fuel and agriculture. At present, the United Nations’ REDD program estimates deforestation in Zambia results in forest loss of between 617,763 and 864,869 acres (250,000 and 350,000 hectares) per year.

Since this video, produced by South Africa–based film studio Makhulu, was released in 2013, it has received international awards such as the U.N.’s Forum on Forests Short Film Award for the Africa region and been featured at environmental film festivals around the world.

More importantly, the Amazing Grace nursery Maanyina started continues to operate to this day and is part of a network of suppliers to Greenpop — an organization based in Zambia that has planted more than 50,000 trees throughout the country in the past few years.

Greenpop, along with inspiring individuals such as Maanyina, hopes to slowly reverse Zambia’s decades-long deforestation trends one tree at a time. View Ensia homepage