environmentalist Wangari Maathai became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, reported Reuters
. She was honored for helping aid democracy and save Africa's forests through her Green Belt Movement, comprised mainly of women, which has planted some 30 million trees across Africa to combat encroaching deforestation. ::Green Belt Movement
The naming of the award is good news for the green movement; it seems to admit a new age and a new concept in the Nobel Peace Prize (and therefore the idea of peace itself), which heretofore has generally awarded humanitarians seeking to end armed conflict. For the Nobel committee to present its Peace Prize to an environmentalist is an interesting and hopeful concept: Living in peace with each other means living in harmony with and securing the global environment. Could it be that a critical mass is beginning to take note?
In addition to increasing poverty in underdeveloped countries, the ruination of the environment is dangerous for the world at large: greenhouse gases, water pollution, and rising sea levels are just a few of the monsters that are growing with total disregard to national borders. And let's not overlook the fact that most conflicts are fought over natural resources (do we really need to even mention Iraq or Afghanistan? Didn't think so.)
As for Maathai, who reportedly planted a tree upon hearing the news, she proclaimed, "It cannot get any better than this--maybe in heaven." Hopefully, Ms. Maathai it will get indeed get better before we pass on to otherworldly places. Thanks for leading the effort.