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Fecha:Viernes, 10 de Diciembre, 2004  03:44:04 (-0800)
Autor:andres angel <afangel2002>

Nobel winner: Planet under threat

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (Reuters) -- Saying the planet is
under threat from human activities, Kenyan
environmentalist Wangari Maathai urged democratic
reforms and an end to corporate greed in a speech
accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

Sweeping changes to the world order, she said, were
needed to restore a "world of beauty and wonder" by
overcoming challenges ranging from AIDS to climatic

"Activities that devastate the environment and
societies continue unabated," Maathai, founder of a
campaign to plant 30 million trees across Africa to
slow deforestation, said in a speech prepared for
delivery at the prize ceremony in Oslo.

"Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a
shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops
threatening its life-support system," said Maathai,
who is Kenya's deputy environment minister.

"I call on leaders, especially in Africa, to expand
democratic space and build fair and just societies
that allow the creativity and energy of their citizens
to flourish," she said.

"Further, industry and global institutions must
appreciate that ensuring economic justice, equity and
ecological integrity are of greater value than profits
at any cost," she said.

Grassroots citizens' movements should be encouraged to
promote change, she added.

Maathai, the first African woman to win the prize
named after Swedish philanthropist Alfred Nobel since
it was first awarded in 1901, will collect a cheque
for 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.48 million), a gold
medal and a diploma.

"We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds
and in the process heal our own," she said.

Her tree-planting movement, led mostly by women, aims
to produce everything from firewood to building
materials and also slow desertification. It also works
for women's rights, democracy and peace.

She said that "destruction of ecosystems ... climatic
instability and contamination of soils and waters" all
contributed to poverty.

Maathai, 64, said a stream where she used to see
tadpoles as a child 50 years ago had now dried up.
"The challenge is to restore the home of the tadpoles
and give back to our children a world of beauty and
wonder," she said.

Maathai also said the environment was a barometer of a
nation's health. Some critics have said
environmentalism has too little to do with peace to
warrant the Nobel accolade.

"The state of any country's environment is a
reflection of the kind of governance in place, and
without good governance there can be no peace," she

She said the world was facing a "litany of woes"
including corruption, violence against women and
children and diseases like AIDS or malaria.

She did not refer to her controversial views of AIDS
-- she has suggested the virus might have been the
result of a laboratory experiment gone awry.

She has, however, denied that she thinks Western
governments might have developed the virus to wipe out


Copyright 2004 Reuters. All rights reserved.This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten,
or redistributed. 


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