By Georgia Sparling | Jul 20, 2012 | Sippican Week
With tens of millions of trees planted through her work, Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai united communities and challenged the Kenyan government.
Now, a plaque in Marion's Bicentennial park remembers this gutsy humanitarian who fought for change from the ground up.
Through her organization, the Green Belt Movement, Maathai rallied communities across Kenya to plant trees that could be used as fuel, food and to improve ecosystems.
According to its website, the Green Belt Movement has seen 47 million trees planted since 1977.
Although much of her work was done in Kenya, Maathai’s impact extends across the globe, even after she succumbed to cancer in September 2011.
The Marion Institute began working with Maathai and her organization in the late 1990s to help them build awareness, fundraise and establish nonprofit status in the States.
In 2001, the Institute arranged a tree planting with Maathai at Bicentennial Park.
“She glowed. She lit up a room just walking into it,” said Marion Institute’s Executive Director Desa Van Laarhoven. “We wanted to make sure people hear her name.”
Van Laarhoven said the planting was somewhat comical.
“She shows up and we have this giant tree, six feet tall. It’s clearly not a sapling,” said Van Laarhoven. “She was laughing. She thought it was so beautiful how the United States, when they focused on doing something, did it to the biggest degree they could fathom.”
While Maathai loved planting trees, Van Laarhoven said, “The whole reason she was really doing this was to build communities, to bring women together, to empower youth. That was all her cover mission: to build a more sustainable, loving world.”
Maathai got women talking about HIV and AIDS, advocated for equal rights and spoke out against the destruction of the natural environment, said Van Laarhoven.
For her work, Maathai often put her life in danger.
“She was an incredible woman who was beaten by police and arrested many times,” said Laarhoven. “We can’t even put our finger on the pulse of what she influenced. She lives on in many ways.”
One of those ways is through a new plaque that stands beside the tree Maathai planted in 2001. Van Laarhoven said Maathai’s death prompted the Institute’s Board of Directors to install it in her memory.
“They wanted to make sure to protect the tree, to make sure people knew. Maybe people will come across it and look her up,” said Van Laarhoven.
Almost a year after Maathai’s death, her work continues through the Green Belt Movement. Marion Institute also continues to look for ways to contribute to her mission of uniting communities in America and abroad.
The question, said Van Laarhoven is: “How can we create inspiration from this woman who poured her heart and soul into this work?”
A tribute to an amazing woman, leader, environmentalist and friend. Plant your saplings with love and a thank you to Jeffrey Glassman and RainforestMaker for donating 500 saplings in Wangari's honor.
Prof. Wangari Muta Maathai started the Green Belt Movement in 1977, working with women to improve their livelihoods by increasing their access to resources like firewood for cooking and clean water. She became a great advocate for better management of natural resources and for sustainability, equity, and justice.
source: Sippican Week
Wangari Maathai Tribute
Watch the Connecting For Change tribute to an amazing woman, leader, environmentalist and friend.
As the ‘Movement with No Name’ gains momentum – thanks in part to the work of Occupy, Slow Food and others – Philip Baldwin reports on the pioneering work of the Marion Institute.
Who are the catalysts for change towards an ecological future? Where does the leadership come from to bring about a transformation of consciousness and behaviour? And how do we even begin to make a transition from fragmentation to holistic living? The answer is almost certainly to be found in the mirror: people like you and me, individuals and groups, wherever we are, taking it upon ourselves to initiate projects and actions that bit by bit become one with a greater movement for sustainable living, social change, and even restoration: giving back to the Earth what we have so casually taken away. The story that follows is one small but vibrant example of just such an undertaking...
To finish reading the article in its entirity and the rest of the wonderful May/June issue you will need to visit the Resurgence website and register as a new user.* While registering please select 'Marion Institute' when prompted by the questions: Where did you hear about Resurgence? A big thank you to the Resurgence team for offering this wonderful opportunity to our members and supporters!
*If you are already registered on the Resurgence website, you will need to send us an email requesting the free copy. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word ‘Marion’ in the subject line and your name.
In addition, Satish Kumar, the editor of Resurgence has also offered to donate $7.00 to the Marion Institute for every new member who joins The Resurgence Trust (members receive 6 issues a year of Resurgence magazine, plus a free book).
You can join online at, http://bit.ly/JCOKlj. The code to generate the ‘£5 donation’ to the Marion Institute is: P8319. The code needs to be added once the ‘membership’ has been selected (at the shopping basket stage).
Thank you for your support!
Desa Van Laarhoven, Marion Institute Executive Director, joined a delegation this winter on a trip to one of the Marion Institute's programs, Cambodia Living Arts (CLA).
She shared a few thoughts on her experience with Georgia Sparling of Sippican Week.
...at one performance in a heavily populated slum, Van Laarhoven said, “They were playing instruments and everyone stopped and listened. It’s bringing together a country to celebrate, instead of to cry.”
For the full article visit, http://sippican.villagesoup.com/community/story/marion-institute-helps-cambodia-heal-with-art/812957
We hope your year has started positively and restoratively. Below are a few articles of interest, including the announcement of the Marion Institute's Executive Director, (little old me) Desa Van Laarhoven, becoming the 2009 SouthCoast Woman of the Year (for those of you that know me, you know I'm cringing at sending this out ~ I'm trying to get out of my comfort zone ~ phew). We hope you enjoy and are inspired by these articles.
Van Laarhoven Strives for Positive Change
January 3, 2010 | Standard Times | Becky W. Evans
Desa Van Laarhoven keeps trying to leave Southeastern Massachusetts to explore the wider world, but work opportunities continue to draw the Lakeville native back home. So instead, she is bringing the world to southcoast, and in doing so, helping to make it a better place.
Peruvian Amazon: The Kichwa People of the Tigre River Mobilize to Protect Their Territory from Oil Companies
January 2010 | Nouvelle Planète | Jeremy Narby
During the last three decades, oil companies have polluted the northern half of the Tigre River basin. Oil now smears the rainforest and contaminates rivers and lakes in this isolated part of the Peruvian Amazon. According to the local Kichwa people, oil spills occur regularly due to ageing and poorly maintained pipelines.
The Welcome Home Project
January 2010 | marioninstitute.org
We would like to introduce The Welcome Home Project, the newest Marion Institute Serendipity Project.
The mission of The Welcome Home Project is to heal a cultural wound by bridging the historic and painful divide that exists between veterans (including their families) and the civilian communities in which they live.
Thank you again for your support and interest.
Desa Van Laarhoven
Below is an assortment of articles, opportunities and news. We hope that you find them informative, timely, inspiring and interesting. Thank you for your continued support and interest in the work of the Marion Institute.
As America’s unemployment rate rises, those paying the severest price aren’t necessarily in Detroit or Miami. One of the newest street children here in this northern Haitian city is a 10-year-old boy whose father was working in Florida but lost his job and can no longer send money home. As a result, the family here was evicted, the mother and children went separate ways to improve their odds of finding shelter, and the boy found refuge in an abandoned wreck of a car…. On this trip, I met a couple of American women, Sasha Kramer and Sarah Brownell, both in their early 30s, who offer an example of outward commitment at a time when most of us are retrenching and focusing on ourselves. Sasha and Sarah run a hand-to-mouth aid group, called SOIL; they speak fluent Creole and get around on motorcycle taxis while waving back at legions of fans on every street.
Bioneers by the Bay: Connecting for Change
April 2009 | connectingforchange.org
We are very excited to announce that Paul Hawken, Dr. Vandana Shiva, Woody Tasch and many others will be joining us as Live Keynote Speakers at this year’s Bioneers by the Bay: Connecting for Change Conference, October 22-25, 2009 in Downtown New Bedford.
Bioneers by the Bay: Connecting for Change is a Program of the Marion Institute.
Sustainability Education and Youth Coordinator Job Opening
April 2009 | Marion Institute
The Marion Institute is looking for a motivated, responsible and creative change-maker able to work on a number of exciting projects. Time will be split between two interrelated programs: Sustainability Education and the Bioneers by the Bay: Connecting for Change Youth Initiative. Candidates must have experience working with youth and a proven commitment to issues of sustainability and social justice. This is a full time position requiring at least a one year commitment. Must work well both collaboratively and independently.
Follow the Himalayan Project
April 2009 | himalayanproject.org
Every year the Himalayan Team travels to Nepal in the Spring and/or Fall to trek into remote villages and distribute fleece jackets that have been donated by American schoolchildren. Along the way, the team will not only move through an incredible landscape but also spend time in Buddhist Monasteries and live with Sherpa families, experiencing the rhythms of daily life. To follow along with Project Leader, Sally Hunsdorfer, and her traveling companions on this amazing adventure beginning April 6th, please visit the new Himalayan Project Blog.
The Himalayan Project is a Serendipity Project of the Marion Institute.
Green Jobs, Youth and New Bedford
April 2009 | ahanewbedford.org
For the past 8 weeks our Youth Coordinator, Kalia Lydgate, has been teaching a course called "I Thrive Green Alive" to a group of New Bedford high school students through a New Bedford youth organization called Brick by Brick. For this course Kalia designed a sustainability and green jobs curriculum taught through hip hop. All the participating youth were themselves artists, poets, rap artists and song writers and the course culminated with each student writing their own poem, song or rap in response to what they’d learned. The group recently performed at a conference in Amherst, MA where they so impressed the audience and organizers that they were asked to join the keynote panel the next morning and to do a radio show that afternoon. They’ll be performing again this Thursday evening at AHA Night in New Bedford at the Whaling Museum, a CD of their work will soon be available as well.
Mastate Charitable Foundation Internship Opportunity
March 2009 | Mastate Charitable Foundation
The Mastate Charitable Foundation, the newest Serendipity Project of the Marion Institute, is elated to announce a new, dynamic and exciting internship opportunity for a motivated, hard-working, organized, patient, bilingual Spanish/English speaker with building experience who is interested in natural design, green construction and community development in rural Latin America (specifically Costa Rica). They are offering a 6-month to 1-year internship to one fortunate individual willing and able to coordinate the construction of a Community Learning and Sharing Center (CLSC) in the middle of the small community of Mastatal.
Edible Gardens in Schools Draws a Crowd
March 16, 2009 | angrymoms.org
Over 250 people attended the very successful "Edible Gardens in Schools" Workshop, which took place at the Unitarian Church in Westport CT, Monday, March 16th and was organized by Amy Kalafa of Two Angry Moms. Interested parents, teachers and administrators, some traveling from as far away as Long Island took part in the 4-hour event, which included breakfast, 8 speakers and lunch. The discussion focused on how to introduce edible gardens in schools, as an educational tool to teach our children how food is grown and the importance of healthy food.
Two Angry Moms is a Serendipity Project of the Marion Institute.
Bela Fleck’s Africa Project Comes to the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center
Saturday April 11, 8PM | Zeiterion Performing Arts Center | New Bedford, MA
Often considered the premier banjo player in the world, Be`la Fleck is the winner of eight Grammys and has been nominated in more categories than anyone in history. He has virtu-ally reinvented the image and sound of the banjo. In his “Africa Project” Be`la Fleck explores the little known African roots of the banjo, highlighting how richly diverse Africa’s musical traditions truly are with some of Africa’s most talented musicians, featuring Toumani Diabate (Mali), D’Gary (Madagascar), Vusi Mahlasela (South Africa) & Anania Ngoliga (Tanzania). Tickets are on sale now.
Charter for Compassion
October, 2008 | Youtube.com
Help us to create a Charter for Compassion.
People of all nations, all faiths, all backgrounds, submitted their words to the Charter. Now the Council of Sages will take these contributions to write the final document.
By recognizing that the Golden Rule is fundamental to all world religions, the Charter for Compassion can inspire people to think differently about religion. This Charter is being created in a collaborative project by people from all over the world. It will be completed in 2009.
A Green-Tinged Stimulus Bill
February 12, 2009 | Grist.org
The $789 billion economic-recovery bill looks good in terms of green spending, according to preliminary analysis from the Center for American Progress. The House and Senate reached agreement on the bill on Wednesday and are expected to approve it by the end of the week; President Obama hopes to sign it into law by Presidents' Day.
Ellen Tadd Workshops: Chakra System and Lessons from Her Guides
March 7 & 14, 2009 | Boston, MA
For over thirty years, Ellen has taught, lectured and counseled on the actualization of spiritual potential in everyday life. After completing her freshman year of college, she had a remarkable experience in which she was able to contact her deceased mother. Very soon after this awakening she began to have contact with guides from spiritual realms and discover that she could serve as an intermediary between the material and spiritual worlds. Ellen’s guides have provided her with an extraordinary education.
Ellen Tadd’s work is a Serendipity Project of the Marion Institute.
One response to the global crisis that is gaining enthusiastic momentum is the Transition Towns movement. Jennifer Gray, a pioneer in the Transition Initiative in the UK and cofounder of Transition US, describes it as “a community-led response to the twin crises of peak oil and climate change. It’s … positive, pro-active [and] engages the whole community in building resilience into their world.”
Is America’s decades-old environmental movement finally coming to fruition? The Green Economy
January 2009 | A “Humankind” Radio Program
Take a listen to our very own Bioneers by the Bay Youth Coordinator, Kalia Lydgate, featured in the radio program below.
As environmental visionaries see it, the future of energy is not in greenhouse gas-emitting fuels like oil and coal – whose supply is running out -- but in sustainable, non-global warming sources like wind and sun and waves from the ocean and in the enormous storehouse of heat that naturally occurs deep underground. In the coming green economy, utilizing this energy will generate a surge of new employment, while combating climate change and providing additional energy independence for the United States. This program offers a brief history of American environmental concerns and features the voices of several leading lights in the current effort to protect the planet by relying on sustainable sources of energy.
Earth’s big problem: Too many people.
January 28, 2009 | Christian Science Monitor | Gregory M. Lamb
But how can we ease population without taking draconian steps? By developing in ways that we should be anyway, experts say.
In March of 2000, during the last days of the Clinton administration, the EPA decided coal ash was a hazardous waste. Then, two months later, it flipped. If the EPA had stuck to its guns, the Kingston Coal Ash disaster in Tennessee might have been averted. Now, momentum is building to federally regulate coal ash. Will the EPA make the same mistake twice?
Study: High-fructose corn syrup contains mercury
January 28, 2009 | USA Today | Robert Preidt
Almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies.
For information on how to restore your natural body systems, please visit Paracelsus Biological Medicine Network, a Program of the Marion Institute.
“You must give some time to your fellow men. Even if it's a little thing, do something for others -- something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it.”
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