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Baltimore by the Sea

Friday, September 21, 2007

Three to Go

Sometimes I manage to be in the right place at the right time as I was a couple of days ago. After a humongous all staff meeting at my office, I stepped into the elevator just in time to hear a co-worker, Rick, called over to me, "You know Wangari Maathai? She started a movement to plant trees in Africa?"

"The one that won the Nobel Peace Price?", I said.

I only knew a little bit about the Kenyan woman, but still can't manage to remember her name. Anyway, next thing Rick had given me a free ticket to see Ms. Maathai because he bought the ticket but then happily for 'moi' he ran into a conflicting obligation.

So... tonight, across the street from the State Capital at the Prespyterian Church, I had the pleasure of hearing a genuine, Nobel Peace Prize winning lady from Kenya speak.

She told amusing stories of how she got started in her tree planting, like when she requested trees from the forestry.

“How many do you want?”

“Um… 30, 32 million?”

“Sure, go right ahead!”

Of course the man thought she was kidding but he quickly found out she meant business. She didn’t take the number out of a hat, she’d thought one tree per Kenyan would be nice and she planted all of those and more.

She also asked if we have all planted our share of trees which ought to be at least ten. I gave it a thought… there’s the four tridents I put in the back yard (ok, I didn’t plant them myself but I did goad others into doing so for me). Ok, ok, the Tupelo tree died but that wasn’t my fault. And also in the back yard there’s the Hedge Maple, the Hawthorn. In the front yard there’s the Chinese Hackberry that is taking its damned time, in no hurry to grow. That’s seven trees! Ok, only three more and I’ve fulfilled my environmental destiny. How serendipitous - recently I was chatting with Mommy Nancy, who recommended I put more trees in the back yard for additional shading in the summer. Ok Mrs Maathai – you’ve convinced me. I’ll do my part - three more trees in the back yard. Now - what trees do I plant?

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