Wangari and us...

Wed, 2011-09-28 10:07 by hcroze
Wangari opening Karura Cristina... ...and I greet Wangari on her last visit to the Karura, March 2011

Prof. Wangari Maathai's passing has stunned us all. Purity Waweru, our Office Manager, said she has lost her role model. Cynthia Moss said on the ATE FaceBook page, "This is a great loss to Kenya and the world. She was an amazing woman; we must all try to follow in her footsteps."

Betsy Swart, on the same page, said, "I had the great opportunity to meet her once and will never forget her smile, her warmth, and her determination. She lives on as an inspiration to us all." My wife, Cristina Boelcke, is rushing around to coordinate the next steps for the Friends of Karura Forest Community Forest Association and organize a memorial tree-planting in the forest this weekend (Wangari was Patron of FKF)…
I remember vividly walking with Wangari and her tree-planters from the GreenBelt Movement in a peaceful demonstration in 1999 against land-grabbing developers in the Karura. Although she was bloodied that day by hired thugs, she won the day, and Karura was saved. She ended her book, Unbowed, as she left this life, full of hope and forward momentum: "As women and me continue this work of clothing this naked Earth, we are in the company of many others throughout the world who care deeply for this blue planet. We have nowhere else to go. ... we are driven to action. We cannot tire or give up. We owe it to the present and future generations of all species to rise up and walk!"