A Calling

"We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own -- indeed, to embrace the whole creation in all its diversity, beauty, and wonder. This will happen if we see the need to revive our sense of belonging to a larger family of life."

--Wangari Maathai, in her speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize

I happened across this quote today and wanted to share it with anyone who is reading this blog. As you likely know, Wangari Maathai is the first woman from central or eastern Africa to hold a PhD, the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, and the founder of the Green Belt Movement, which inspired thousands of women to plant 30 million trees in Kenya in the last 30 years. Maathai won the Nobel Peace Prize because world leaders recognize, as she does, that environmental degradation is not "just" an environmental issue. When the environment is harmed, everything suffers. Among the results are poverty, poor health, and wars over resources.

What does this have to do with putting up a bird house or planting a few native plants in your back yard? Well, as Maathai said in the Grist interview in which I found this quote, "On the very first day we planted seven trees, and I like to mention this because sometimes people get overwhelmed by 30 million. It is important to understand that this is a process, not something that happens in a bang."

Maathai's work is an inspiration for those of us who are committed to being good stewards of our own patch of earth, however large or small it may be. For more information:

1 comment:

pinenut said...

Anyone interested in reading Wangiri Maathai's story in her own words might like Unbowed, a memoir she published in 2006. Publisher's Weekly calls the writing style "workman-like", but her perspective on the Greenbelt Movement is undeniably inspiring.