Nobel Peace Prize December 2004
It is a time to honor the newest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize Wangari Maathai, a courageous and resourceful Kenyan woman known for her extraordinary work in bringing an environmental consciousness and awareness to her country and to the world. Her work has been celebrated over the last year or two because she was able to awaken a true environmental action movement at the grass roots level, despite official resistance and lack of huge financial support.
I believe this is a truly inspired choice, and in a world gripped by war, fear, hatred and greed, it is truly a joy to find that there are people working on efforts for peace, harmony and environmental balance who, though not as visible as the warmongers of the world, provide an immense, almost incalculable benefit. No one can say it better than she did as she addressed the assembly.
She warned that the world remained under attack from disease, deforestation and war, and urged new approaches to solving those problems. “Today, we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system.”
“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,” Maathai said. “This will happen 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.”
“In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other,” she said. “That time is now.”
She was selected for her
role in founding the Green Belt Movement, which has sought to empower women,
improve the environment and fight corruption in
“The Norwegian Nobel Committee has challenged the world to broaden the understanding of peace: there can be no peace without equitable development; and there can be no development without sustainable management of the environment in a democratic and peaceful space. This shift is an idea whose time has come,” she said.
My heart rejoices in the work she is doing, what she stands for and the inspiration she brings to all of us. In these days of the new “dark ages”, it is a hopeful sign to see such efforts take place, succeed, be recognized and rewarded. As long as such people live and work on this planet, we clearly cannot give up hope or consider all things lost. We are in a temporary period of darkness, during which fear, hatred and greed seem to rule much of the planet, but we should never forget that secretly, behind the scenes, a new consciousness is in preparation, and Wangari Maathai is a sign that this consciousness is coming to the forefront and preparing for the ultimate change as humanity breaks free of its past limitations and climbs toward a harmonious and peaceful future that awaits us.
Wangari Maathai, we salute and honor you and send you our goodwill, support and love.
Twin Lakes, Wisconsin