Wow. Don’t try this at home!
Wow. Don’t try this at home!
All of us have a God in us, and that God is the spirit that unites all life, everything that is on this planet.
It must be this voice that is telling me to do something, and I am sure it’s the same voice that is speaking to everybody on this planet — at least everybody who seems to be concerned about the fate of the world, the fate of this planet.”
Wangari Mathaai proved that we can all make a difference in saving the planet, and that Africa would lead the way.
RIP, Wangari Muta Maathai (1940-2011)
Mother, Relative, Co-worker, Colleague, Role model, Heroine, and Hummingbird
The following is an edited repost from last November:
William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer’s book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind made it to Amazon’s top 10 Best Books of 2009, as well as Publisher Weekly’s Best Book of the Year. It tells about how Kamkwamba, “a simple farmer in a country of poor farmers” built a windmill about of bicycle parts and other scrap pieces when he was 14, after being forced to drop out of school because of a severe drought in Malawi. He built his windmill to pump water and generate electricity for his home. Now every home in Wimbe, Kamkwamba’s hometown, has a solar panel and a battery to store power. His message to “all the people out there – to the Africans, and to poor people” is to never give up.
“Trust yourself, and believe. Whatever happens, don’t ever give up.” Here is Mr. Kamkwamba speaking at last year’s TED conference:
The situation that we are in is too important to get sidetracked by anti-science deniers and others without the ability to imagine a different, better world. Let’s take Mr. Kamkwamba’s words to heart, and keep up the good fight for real action on global warming. Go to 350.org or my Action, Not Apathy page for ideas on where to start.
If you live in Ontario, and you are reading this before August 25, 2010, please go to the Toronto Environmental Alliance’s website and send the provincial government that the message that you support wind power. The government is considering a 5km exclusion zone for off-shore wind power, which would kill any attempt to install wind turbines in Lake Ontario. The province is open for comments until Aug 24 – click here to tell the province you, like William Kamkwamba, support wind power! (Thanks to Cheryl McNamara at Carbon Slim for that link)
More inspiration from Professor Wangari Maathai, an amazing woman from Kenya who founded the Green Belt Movement there 30 years ago and won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts. Since Prof. Maathai started it in 1977, the Movement has organized poor rural women in Kenya to plant over 30 million trees. This is turn combats deforestation, restores their main source of fuel for cooking, generates income, and stops soil erosion. The Green Belt Movement incorporates advocacy and empowerment for women, eco-tourism, and economic justice into the simple act of planting trees.
In this video, Prof. Maathai talks about whether one person can make a difference. She is certainly proof that one dedicated and inspired person can transform the world!
Here is an interview with Prof. Maathai, from 2008.
To go to The Green Belt Movement’s website, click here.
To go to Professor Maathai’s Facebook page, click here.
Click here to go to Tree-Nation.com, the biggest free Internet social network with the objective of planting trees in order to fight poverty, desertification, deforestation and climate change. For every 10 people that join, a tree is planted.
Now go out and get your hands dirty – plant a real tree!
Oxfam’s Sisters on the Planet initiative recognizes that climate change hits poor people hardest—especially poor women, who are disproportionately affected. As their website states:
People like to talk about global warming like it’s a problem to deal with in the future. But the reality is that poor people are already struggling with it right now. You don’t have to go to drought-riddled Ethiopia or flood-threatened Cambodia or malaria-prone South Africa to witness it. Just take a trip to the hurricane-battered US Gulf Coast or look at the damage done by the wildfires in California. Climate change kills off crops, destroys homes, and creates massive refugee problems. There’s no time to waste. We must help poor communities deal with the effects right now…
If we act quickly, we can reduce the damaging impact that climate change has on poor people’s lives and livelihoods. But if we fail to help in time, they will suffer far greater damage, and at a much higher human and financial cost.
Women’s Environmental Network (WEN) recently presented an extensive report on women and climate change to the British House of Commons. The report documents how catastrophe related to climate change will have a much greater impact on women. Entitled ‘Engendering Change’, the report points out that because of ongoing gender inequality, different social roles, and simple biology, women are more likely to die in extreme weather conditions, to suffer from increased workload, and be subject to abuse, including sexual violence, in resource conflicts exacerbated by climate change. As their Women & Climate Change blog states:
The report’s conclusions include a sobering fact, that women constitute up to 80% of climate refugees, that 20 million women have already lost their homes and livelihoods due to climate change related weather chaos. The IPCC says that extreme weather conditions are set to increase and become more frequent. The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction shows clearly that since 1970 the numbers of extreme weather events has increased from around 25 per year for floods to 200 per year with incidences of droughts, wind storms and related disasters also increasing. As we discovered in Copenhagen, climate change is already causing chaos around the world and disproportionately claiming women’s lives, safety and health.
If you are a woman, or you have a wife or a daughter or a mother that you care about, use this International Women’s Day to take action to ensure a better, safer future for them. Some of things each of us can do are:
Tell our political leaders that climate change is an urgent issue and needs to be addressed. Click here for more on how to do this.
If you are in the US, click here to go to the “action” page of Sisters on the Planet, and sign up to become a sister (or brother).
Click here to visit the Women’s Environmental Network blog.
The UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen is in its third day, and so far there’s been enough drama, accusations, and threats to put a soap opera to shame. It would be entertaining, if the health of our planet didn’t hang in the balance. To read more of the details, check out this link or this one. In thinking about what is at stake, consider these voices that are being drowned out by the drama:
“If this is the greatest risk that humanity faces, then how do you explain $10 billion?Ten billion will not buy developing countries’ citizens enough coffins.”
Remember, to date, over $1 trillion dollars has been spent on rescuing financial institutions!
For Mr. Mukusya and other Kenyan farmers, climate change is not a debate, it’s a reality. These subsistence farmers are trying to adjust to the negative effects of climate change, but it is difficult. Mr. Mukusya states:
“The climate is changing—it is very clear…The majority of people here have no resources to cope with the situation. If we don’t make changes, we cannot survive… For us, this is a matter of survival. God created abundant land. We need to find solutions to the destruction we have made for ourselves.”
Africa, the world’s poorest continent, is most at risk because of climate change, yet it is the one that has contributed the least to global warming. To hear more about the situation of Mr. Mukusya and other African farmers, check out the video below. “Taking the Heat” is a Canadian Foodgrains Bank video about African agriculture and climate change:
Tcktcktck – 5 days until Copenhagen. And the global warmer deniers continue to be hot and bothered. They persist in their focus on the hacked emails from the University of East Anglia which I wrote about on Monday. Senator James Inhofe is one of the people leading U.S.’s denial lobby; and he also happens to be the U.S. senator who receives the most money from the oil and gas industries. Inhofe thinks that “global warming is debunked everytime he drinks a slushie and gets a brain freeze” (Jon Stewart).
As Copenhagen gets closer, if you are anything like me, you might be feeling the need for a dose of encouragement. Here’s some:
William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer’s book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind has made it to Amazon’s top 10 Best Books of 2009, as well as Publisher Weekly’s Best Book of the Year. It tells about how Kamkwamba, “a simple farmer in a country of poor farmers” built a windmill about of bicycle parts and other scrap pieces when he was 14, after being forced to drop out of school because of a severe drought in Malawi. He built his windmill to pump water and generate electricity for his home. Now every home in Wimbe, Kamkwamba’s hometown, has a solar panel and a battery to store power. His message to “all the people out there – to the Africans, and to poor people” is to never give up.
“Trust yourself, and believe. Whatever happens, don’t ever give up.”
Click here view a video of Mr. Kamkwamba speaking at the TED Global Conference this past July.
The situation that we are in is too important to let the deniers sidetrack us. Let’s take Mr. Kamkwamba’s words to heart, and keep up the good fight for a real, fair and binding treaty on global warming. Check out the links on my blogroll and take action.