An Act of Defiant Hope

Another subversive bible study from Walter Brueggemann. Re-posted from

This is an unabashed commendation of a book. The book by Franck Prevot is entitled Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees (2015). This children’s book, with its winsome art work, tells the story of Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan woman who learned from her mother that “a tree is worth more than its wood.” As she grew up she became aware that her people were deprived of much of their land for agriculture. She saw the devastation of the forests as her country gained independence from Britain. In the face of all the deforestation, her mother taught her:

A tree is a treasure that provides shade, fruit, pure air, and nesting places for birds, and that pulses with the vitality of life. Trees are hideouts for insects and provide inspiration for poets. A tree is a little bit of the future (21).

In response to the destruction of deforestation that she could observe, Maathai organized the Green Belt Movement to encourage villagers to plant many, many trees. She encountered much opposition from business interests and from the authoritarian government of Daniel arap Moi. She was imprisoned by the government for her oppositional stance, but slowly she is able to gain public support for her democratic vision of society. Her great courage led not only to many trees, but to the flourishing of democracy in her home country of Kenya. It is clear that her story is one that our children and grandchildren urgently need to hear, a story of courage in devotion to the wellbeing of the earth and its creaturely population. Click here to read the rest.

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