An impassioned call to heal the wounds of our planet and ourselves through the tenets of our spiritual traditions, from a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
It is so easy, in our modern world, to feel disconnected from the physical earth. Despite dire warnings and escalating concern over the state of our planet, many people feel out of touch with the natural world. Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai has spent decades working with the Green Belt Movement to help women in rural Kenya plant—and sustain—millions of trees. With their hands in the dirt, these women often find themselves empowered and “at home” in a way they never did before. Maathai wants to impart that feeling to everyone, and believes that the key lies in traditional spiritual values: love for the environment, self-betterment, gratitude and respect, and a commitment to service. While educated in the Christian tradition, Maathai draws inspiration from many faiths, celebrating the Jewish mandate tikkun olam (“repair the world”) and renewing the Japanese term mottainai (“don’t waste”). Through rededication to these values, she believes, we might finally bring about healing for ourselves and the earth.
Nobel Peace laureate Maathai (Unbowed) returns with a call for a reconnection to the planet and its inhabitants, expanding upon the practical and spiritual mission behind the Green Belt Movement. Formed by Maathai in 1977 (and chronicled in her 2003 book), GBM's efforts include planting crops and trees, collecting rainwater, and building and maintaining sand dams that provide water during the dry season. Maathai outlines the four core values of the organization love for the environment; gratitude and respect for Earth's resources; self-empowerment and self-betterment; the spirit of service and volunteerism and explains how these efforts have helped heal the earth and empower women in Africa and beyond. At the heart of her message is a demand for a new level of environmental consciousness and concern. Maathai provides the movement's history, examines the relevance of its core values to people everywhere, and relates the journey she took as a goodwill ambassador for an initiative to protect the Congo Basin forest. With passion, wisdom, and calm, Maathai issues a renewed call that might enlighten those who still dispute that we are in a state of ecological crisis.