She was a Hummingbird-Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai was Kenya’s first woman to earn a Doctorate and the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize for her “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.” In addition to many other significant contributions to the world. She passed away yesterday, 9/28/2011, after losing her battle with cancer. She was 71 years old.

I first learned of Wangari Maathai when I watched the movie, “Dirt”. She won me over with her big beautiful smiling eyes and her telling of the hummingbird story.

As environmentalists, peace activists, lovers of all species, and neighbors, it’s easy to get discouraged and feel like your efforts and opinions don’t mean anything. But they do. You, by how you live and the things you say, inspire other people around you to take up a cause.

I took Ms. Maathai’s hummingbird story to heart. It was following her rehearsal of it that I decided to do and act more in the causes I believe are moral imperatives and claim the title of “Activist”. Until that point I shied away from using the label because I feared it would offend and put people on the defensive or that it would require something of me that I wasn’t willing or couldn’t give. And I feared doing anything that would make me look like a ‘radical’.

What’s wrong with being radical?

Some of the things I do won’t rock the boat and other things I do are guaranteed to offend. Sometimes-most times- anything I do will be of little significance, but like I said in my OMK introduction:

When I’m long gone after living a comfortable life with fast transportation, mostly clean water and air, and more food options than I could use, my grandchildren will still be here. It’s my job as my clan’s matriarch to do what I can to make sure they, too, will have access to a comfortable life with clean water, plentiful food, breathable air and a place to stay warm.

This blog won’t make it happen, but it’s just one of many little things I can do.

So following Ms Maathai’s example I, too, have become a hummingbird.

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One response to “She was a Hummingbird-Wangari Maathai

  1. Alliegator September 26, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    I’m sorry to hear she died. I loved her hummingbird story too.

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