Reflecting on the battle for the nature

Environmentalism has become the front line in a global battle for the survival of the natural world, says The Guardian’s environmental news editor, John Vidal, on his retirement.

Two people in particular stand out in his short memoir published Dec. 23:  Wangari Maathai from Kenya, and Ken Saro-Wiwa of Nigeria.

Barack Obama and Maathai, 2006. (Wikipedia)

Barack Obama and Maathai, 2006. (Wikipedia)

About Maathai:  The message she brought was that any debate about the natural world should not just be about science and parts-per-billion of obscure gases, or about genes or kilowatts, but must include developing countries and be rooted in justice, equity and the situation of the least advantaged. She went on to win the Nobel peace prize, and the planting of trees became a worldwide symbol of political hope and community regeneration.   

Saro-Wiwa was holding Shell Oil Co. to account “for the devastating human impact of the pollution it caused in places such as Nigeria (along with) a new generation of activists angry about oil’s effect on the global atmosphere. Both paid the price of dissent. Saro-Wiwa and others were judicially murdered by the Nigerian government in 1995, and (climate) activists were increasingly hounded and treated as criminals by the US and British authorities.” 

The full article is worth a close read as we approach the new year, 2017.


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