sites/all/files/wangari.jpgAs I sit here, scrolling through the photos from Moving Planet events taken around the world last Saturday, and watching as hundreds of Canadians, young and old, risk arrest to stop Tar Sands development in northern Alberta, I'm reminded of the incredible power of ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

And it's with great sadness, tempered only by hope for the future, that I learned of the passing today of Dr. Wangari Maathai, nobel prize-winning environmentalist and human rights advocate from Kenya. Founder of the Green Belt Movement, a group dedicated, for over 30 years, to fighting poverty in rural Africa through tree-planting and community development, Dr. Maathai demonstrated the kind of humility and ferocity that many of the protestors outside Canadian Parliament exhibit today.

Dr. Maathai was a great friend of, a mother, political activist and passionate advocate for the Earth and for the poor. Her grounded leadership and joyful presence will be sorely missed, but her spirit will live on, in the millions who take action every day to protect the planet and the people who live on it.

I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Maathai briefly a few years ago, at a premiere of a wonderful biographical film of her life called "Taking Root." She listened to every word I said carefully, and was supportive of both the mission of, the global climate movement, and encouraged us to take leadership and guide the movement with a firm vision of a sustainable, green future.

Dr. Maathai must surely be smiling today, knowing that indigenous leaders, students, grandparents and Canadians of all stripes and colors, are standing up for the Earth and their communities. May we all take action with the same joy and resolve that she embodied.

Please send messages of condolence and hope at the Green Belt Movement website here >>

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