How does one woman convince thousands of
soldiers to plant trees—many of them for the first time? She simply
tells them that their enemy isn’t people but the encroaching desert.
Then she adds: “If I were you, I’d carry that gun with my left hand,
and a tree seedling in my right hand.” That’s in step with her belief
that environmental degradation leads to most of the world’s conflict.
Before she won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, few outside of Kenya had ever heard of Wangari Maathai, who founded Africa’s Green Belt Movement. But she drew a crowd of 1,500 March 10 at the 18th annual Nobel Peace Prize Forum, hosted by Luther College, Decorah, Iowa. The forum is the only event of its kind the Nobel Peace Prize Institute sponsors abroad. It is hosted, on a revolving basis, by five ELCA colleges: Augsburg, Minneapolis; Augustana, Sioux Falls, S.D.; Concordia, Moorhead, Minn.; Luther; and St. Olaf, Northfield, Minn.
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