Wangari Maathai, winner of this year’s Nobel Prize for Peace, is an environmental activist in Africa, who links peace to environmentalism. Maathai was chosen for her role in founding the Green Belt Movement, which has sought to empower women, improve the environment, and fight corruption and deforestation in Africa.
“Today, we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening our life support system,” Ms. Maathai told the audience in Oslo.
She warned that the world remained under attack from disease, deforestation, and war.
“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,” she said. “That time is now.”
I honestly do not know exactly why George W. Bush invaded Iraq, but I do believe that oil was a major factor in the decision. One reason this rings true to me is that wars have been fought over the right to control and exploit scarce natural commodities since humans began fighting wars. In fact, to a large extent that is what all wars have basically been about.
A just and lasting world peace has been a dream of mankind throughout human history. I am grateful to Ms. Maathai for showing us the path toward realizing that dream. And I applaud the Nobel committee for recognizing Ms. Maathai’s profound understanding of the underlying forces that continually threaten it. I fervently hope that at least some world leaders are listening.