“Some people have asked what the relationship is between peace and environment,
and to them I say that many wars are fought over resources,
which are becoming increasingly scarce across the earth.
If we did a better job of managing our resources sustainably,
conflicts over them would be reduced.
So, protecting the global environment is directly related to securing peace.”
Africa is Proud
Women Are Inspired
And Many Are Pleased
That for the First Time
Has been Awarded
The Nobel Peace Prize
To the beat of African drums, Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai became the twelfth woman, and the first African woman, to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, since it was first awarded in 1901.
She told the gathered audience of royals, celebrities, and diplomats that protecting the world's resources is linked to halting world violence.
"Today, we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system," the first environmental activist to win the peace prize said.
Maathai warned that the world remained under attack from Disease, Deforestation, and War.
"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," she said.
"This will happen only if we see the need to revive our sense of belonging to a larger family of life, with which we have shared our evolutionary process.”
Wangari Maathai combines science, social commitment, and active politics. More than simply protecting the existing environment, her strategy is to secure and strengthen the very basis for ecologically sustainable development.
She founded The Green Belt Movement by planting nine trees in her yard. Then, for the next 30 years, she mobilized African women to plant 30 million trees.
Her methods have now been adopted by other countries, and we are all witness to how deforestation and forest loss have led to desertification in Africa and have threatened many other regions of the world.
Many now believe that protecting our forests against desertification is a vital factor in the struggle to strengthen and protect and improve the living environment of our common Earth for all of its many residents – both human and nonhuman.
Try planting a tree – it truly is inspiring. Every time I do, I happily realize that many life forms will be sustained by it – long after I’m gone.