Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Unbowed

I belong to two book clubs.

One is a regular Council of Adult Education book club. Books are provided through a membership fee. We meet monthly to discuss the chosen book, and literature of all genres is covered. Many interesting and stimulating (noisy!) discussions are generated by the questions is the guide that is provided each month. It's a lot of fun.

The second book group I belong to is run under the umbrella of our Field Naturalists Club. It's called the Eco Book Group and we meet whenever there is a fifth Tuesday in the month, about four times a year. We have to buy or borrow our own copy of the chosen book. A local book shop gives us a 'book club discount'. This year we have discussed Tim Flannery's The Weather Makers, Stephen Pyne's The Still-burning Bush and Unbowed: My Autobiography by Wangari Maathai. We're trying to select books that have a strong environmental message, and, given the current interest in climate change, there are plenty to chose from.

Wangari Maathai won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her work with the women of Kenya. She was concerned that after years of exploitation only 2 percent of indigenous forests remained in Kenya and set up a nursery herself, but later encouraged the rural women to plant and tend trees. This is now called the Green Belt Movement. They have planted millions of trees. Wangari had many disappointments, setbacks, political interference and challenges but continues to nurture the movement and the environment.

Her autobiography is written in a personal and straightforward way and our Eco Book Group enjoyed discussing various aspects of her work and her life. What an inspiration she is.

I'm looking forward to reading and discussing Fred Pearce's When the Rivers Run Dry at our next meeting.

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