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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Wangari Maathai, a Remembrance

Wangari Maathai, a Remembrance

Wangari Maathai (credit: Wikicommons)

Years ago, I led a team to design a reforestation effort in rural Kenya. At that time, 90% percent of the population used wood as their primary fuel resource. Trees were essential and deforestation  rampant. During the project, I came to know a remarkable woman, Wangari Maathai. We discussing strategies for effective forest restoration efforts and she offered her experience. We came from vastly different places but shared common training in ecological and environmental science. She and I became colleagues and friends. Wangari has now passed on.

In a nation largely controlled by men, Wangari Maathai was a presence with her powerful will and strong environmental voice. She established a tree planting initiative, The Greenbelt Movement, that empowered women to grow saplings and plant them around their villages. It became a development model for what is possible in Africa and elsewhere. She eventually won the Nobel Peace Prize, the first time for an environmental award, for this work. Wangari embodied what the Dalai Lama and others have often called 'the power of one'. Here is an African fable, I Will Be A Hummingbird, she presented to a gathering of scientists and interested citizens in London:

The world is poorer now for Wangari's absence and her voice in promoting environmental knowledge and understanding. WHB

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