Saturday, 01 October 2011 22:46
If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people.
Wangari Muta Maathai was born on April 1, 1940, in the central highlands of Kenya, and this September, at the age of 71, she died. By all measure, hers should have been a quiet, local life. Her parents were sustenance farmers who grew barely enough food to feed themselves and their six children. Normally, a girl of her class would not have gone to school, but, oddly, her parents chose to send her. Once there, she was seen to have abilities that led her teachers to encourage her to further her education. She went to college in America and returned to Kenya where she finished her Ph.D. and became research assistant to the Head of Veterinary Medicine at Nairobi University.
This was much more than anyone could have expected her to achieve, but it was not enough for Wangari Maathai. After marrying a politician, she was exposed to the poorest slums in Kenya, and her conscience forced her to act. She saw a vicious cycle — hungry women scavenging for firewood to prepare meals, felling more and more trees, which led to local deforestation, erosion, and the eventual desertification of land, which, in turn, led to more hunger.
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 19:43
By Joe Romano,
— Groucho Marx
The year was 1970. Americans had a dangerously unhealthy diet, the environment was in serious trouble and we were embroiled in an unpopular conflict in Vietnam. These were untenable situations and people responded across the nation and locally, here in Ithaca.
As the year wore on, protests would lead President Nixon to sign the Paris Peace Accord, ending that war. People's concern for the environment would lead to a revitalized Clean Air Act and the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency. And a growing natural foods movement would lead, one year later, in 1971, to the formation of a natural foods co-op that boasts its eight thousandth member this year: GreenStar Cooperative Market.
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