We honor these, whose vision and commitment give us glimpses of a new dream being born —
Wangari Maathai, "Woman of the Trees," received the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize to recognize her courageous and often dangerous dream to help a hundred thousand rural women in Kenya help themselves. By planting trees that will also supply them with food, fuel, water, shade and shelter, these women have restored lands that were once 90% de-forested by illegal logging and charcoal burning.
Her Green Belt Movement is credited with planting over 30 million trees over 30 years and breaking the cycle of poverty for many families. Wangari Maathai is presently serving as Kenya's Assistant Minister to the Environment.
In a recent speech entitled "What Do Trees Have To Do With Peace?" she declared, "When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and seeds of hope. We also secure the future of our children. Today, we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system. We are all part of nature, we are all part of each other."
"Imagine if everyone in the world planted a tree."
Grace and Dave Deppner
Grace and Dave Deppner founded Trees for the Future in 1988 to help rural communities in Central America, Africa, and Asia to plant trees, restore their degraded lands, and improve their livelihoods. The organization has helped to plant more than 50 million trees.
Their pioneering, time-tested agroforestry and "Forest Garden" programs work directly with community leaders and their villages to rebuild worn soils, reduce erosion, replenish groundwater aquifers, and create microclimate conditions that encourage the return of indigenous species. Over 25,000 acres of barren lands have been brought back to life and now support environmentally sustainable production.
As the planet confronts climate change, Dave is optimistic. His Global Cooling Action Plan calls for restoring tree cover across the tropics because "we can plant five times as many trees and remove 15 times as much carbon for the same cost. A fast-growing tree can remove about 50 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year for at least forty years or a ton over its lifetime… Planting trees is the most cost-effective way to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere."
For more information on planting trees, go to www.plant-trees.org.
Dr. Masaru Emoto
Dr. Masaru Emoto of Japan is a water researcher whose Messages from Water concretely demonstrate the potential of human consciousness to create a new dream for the planet. His extraordinary water crystal photographs make the invisible world of consciousness visible for the first time — the images graphically show us the impact our words, thoughts and feelings have directly on the structure of water.
Dr. Emoto has also explored the phenomenal power of prayer and its implications for personal and planetary healing. He predicts that if 10 percent of humanity can awaken into a unified consciousness, a tipping point will be reached. He offers this prayer: We love Water, We thank Water, We respect water, We are all Water, We are all One.
Chief Jake Swamp
Chief Jake Swamp of the Wolf Clan of the Mohawk Nation of the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy founded the Tree of Peace Society in 1984. His efforts have inspired the planting of over 200 million trees in China, Australia, North America and the Middle East and spread the Six Nation's teachings of Thanksgiving and the White Roots of Peace worldwide.
The Tree of Peace was the gift of the Peacemaker who came to the warrior peoples of the then Five Nations more than 850 years ago. These tribes were destroying each other in a grinding and brutal war of attrition. The Peacemaker persuaded them that peace was the ultimate will of the Creator and the highest goal of all natural, human and spiritual laws. He it was who said: "In every action we must first consider the future of the children for seven generations to come."
The Peacemaker inspired the warriors to bury their weapons under a great white pine tree. In its crown is perched eagle-that-sees-far. Its branches shelter all nations who commit themselves to making peace. Its four white roots spread in the four sacred directions to invite all people that desire to obey the Great Law of Peace to join the Tree of Peace, to join in the united nations of the human family.
All the trees
We also wish to dedicate this work to all the trees on planet Earth. We thank you for your living inspiration, unconditional giving and divine beauty.
You remind us that our roots are in the earth, our crown in the stars, our center in the stillness of our hearts.
You help us to remember that each one of us is an individual leaf on the great Tree of Life, each a wonderfully different and unique expression of the One.
And at the same time, you show us that we are all related, brothers and sisters —
— May we each find the roots of the Tree of Peace inside us, re-connect once again with one another, and unite in the ever-evolving dance of the One Life.