Kenyan Environmentalist Wins Nobel Peace Prize
by Roddy Scheer
In what analysts are reporting as a conscious effort to eschew the
politics of current events in Iraq, the Nobel committee has chosen
Kenyan Green Belt Movement founder Wangari Maathai as the 2004 recipient
of its annual $1.3 million peace prize.
Maathai, who currently serves as Deputy Minister for the Environment
in Kenya's government, has worked tirelessly for three decades empowering
African women, planting millions of trees in ravaged areas, and fighting
"The environment is very important in the aspects of peace because
when we destroy our resources and our resources become scarce, we fight
over that," said Maathai. "I am working to make sure we don't
only protect the environment, we also improve governance."
Never before in its 103-year history has the Nobel Peace Prize been
awarded to an environmentalist. But back in 2001 the committee announced
that it wanted to enlarge the scope of the prize to honor those who
worked to improve the environment as well as making significant contributions
to peace efforts.
"This is the first time environment sets the agenda for the Nobel
Peace Prize, and we have added a new dimension to peace. We want to
work for a better life environment in Africa," stated Nobel committee
chairpersom Ole Danbolt.