That’s the message from Dr Wangari Maathai – the 2004 Nobel peace prize laureate for her Green Belt Movement.
Dr Maathai, the invited speaker at this year’s COE Distinguished Lecture Series, spoke about her grassroots work that inspired Africans to empower themselves. Her lecture was titled â€œEmpowerment and the Escape from Poverty.”
These things stood out:
1. When asked about domestic violence, she said that some people are poor – not “money” poor but poor in spirit. And that people can be so poor in spirit that they hurt those that they are supposed to protect.
2. It takes 10 trees to process the CO2 that a human being produces, if you haven’t planted a tree you’re using some other person’s trees. So go plant a tree.
3. She referred to the book of Genesis in the Bible and commented to the audience, “Even if you have not read the book of Genesis before, you should know the story, right?” I wonder what’s the percentage of people in the audience knows the story of Genesis. Anyway, she said that God created the earth, the plants and the animals: after each day of work, God said, “It is good.” But when He created Adam, He didn’t say it is good 🙂 Her enlightening genesis joke was that if God had created Adam on Tuesday, Adam would be dead by Wednesday – because man depend on all things that were created before him to survive.
4. Majority of the conflicts in this world is related to natural resources. If we do not learn to share and manage our limited natural resources wisely, things are going to get worse.
5. Not all of us can/will do big things, but we can all do the best we can.