Greenbelt Movement and Nobel Peace Prize
The other day I was talking to my mother about the really hot weather in my town back in India. My mother keeps complaining the temperatures are every year reaching unbelievable heights that seemed just impossible a few months back. In her eyes and everyone else in various parts of the
world facing record high temperatures and crazy weather, global warming is very real and unfortunately hear to stay. Unless..
We all stopped complaining and discussing it and actually did something about it. Like one brave soul named Wangari Maathai. She was an inspiring Kenyan lady who introduced the idea of community-based tree planting.
She found one solution to solve three issues:
1. Women empowerment (social issue), 2. Economical -poverty alleviation by planting fruit trees and 3. Environmental -conserving the planet and protecting the climate by planting trees anywhere and everywhere possible.
With the organization which became known as the Green Belt Movement, Professor Maathai has assisted women in planting more than 40 million trees on community lands including farms, schools and church compounds.
I have heard inspiring stories of its beginning where the first time they planted 7 trees (in 1976) ,only 1 survived. So, even with such humble beginnings, we can all make a positive change in our environment and in our lives as well. The green belt movement spread from one small village to the whole city, then the whole country and shortly thereafter across Africa. Countries that have successfully launched such initiatives in Africa include Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Lesotho, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and others.
Many activists in the US are now studying it and trying to start similar local movements in various cities and states pan USA. These efforts are being supported through Greenbelt Movement International.
I wanted to make us all aware of how the hopes and action (no action, no change) of one educated person can and did lead to this wonderful movement which even brought her world recognition and a Nobel peace prize. So, making small but lasting changes is in our power..we just need to start and never give up.
I end with this remark from Ms. Mathai available on her site (The Greenbelt Movement.)
“If I have learned one thing, it is that humans are only part of this ecosystem. When we destroy the ecosystem, we destroy ourselves, for in its survival depends our own.”