Friday, May 29, 2009

Wangari Maathai on Today Programme

Wangari Maathai, the nobel Peace prize winning Green, interviewed on Today (go to 0847). She says that what Africa needs is not just Western aid, but good governance.

I will write to draw her attention to the Global Index of Human Rights, which aims to do exactly this thing. In particular, it includes information on the Ibrahim Index for African Governance , a model that applies to sub-Saharan Africa.

Wangari wants us to plant a billion trees by the end of 2009. This is a reasonable and achievable target. In Sao Paolo last year, I met Haidar el Ali, a Green from Senegal who planted 10,000 mangroves with the aid of his own two small children.

In healing the biosphere by planting trees in a way that is ecologically sensible, and in a way that empowers and benefits local people, we will be healing ourselves, because it will divert human energies from conflict and killing.

Real progress is possible. We just need to understand that human health is dependent on the health of the global environment.