Wangari Maathai was undoubtedly a great person. Her activism in saving the environment was underscored by her earning a Nobel Laureate, making her the first African woman to hold that honor. Distinguishing herself, she established an unprecedented culture of respect for the environment and became an activist for women’s issues. Her passing leaves a deep gaping void that one can’t help but wonder whether it will be filled by anyone?
Will Mathai’s passing give rise to other passionate individuals who will champion causes that are for the good of all? Or will the flurry of R.I.P messages, videos, status updates all give way to the next big newsworthy item?
The social networking phenomenon has given rise to the age of the pseudo caring generation. Every time something takes place, a flurry of thought provoking status and tweets rain down the walls of the post driven social forums. Deep introspective quotes and messages, designed to show how reflective people are, are the norm. And once one is given the thumbs up or acknowledged for their updates, very rarely will there be a follow up on how one has actually done something that is inspired by the likes of Wangari Maathai.
Will the passing of the likes of Wangari Maathai really give rise to action driven individuals who will go beyond self-aggrandizement? Or will social media continue to offer the protection of anonymity for people who in reality just go about the daily routines of their lives once they have expressed their shock over her passing?
People like Wangari Maathai and other greats, didn’t need social media to make a difference. They never posted a tweet or face book update to show what they cared for. Wangari Maathai and other like her just got up and took action. Caring for a cause that means something to you and taking the necessary steps to do something about it, is what makes a difference. Further still, it doesn’t matter how many people know about it. Simply doing it for the good it brings to the world is reward enough.
So I say unto you, oh avid face book status people and tweeterers, enough with the dramatic attestations of how much you will miss Wangari’s work. Get up and do something that you really care about and which will make this world a better place. Perhaps it’s as simple as just going over to your neighbor and giving her/him a hand. No one has to know about it. And once you do that thing that makes a difference, resist with all your might the overwhelming urge to tweet or update your status about it. Just keep doing it for the simple pleasure of making a difference in the world.
- Wangari Maathai, 1941-2011 (feministphilosophers.wordpress.com)
- We mourn the loss of Wangari Maathai (oasisrevolution.wordpress.com)
- Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai Dead at 71 (treehugger.com)
- A Tribute to Global Environmentalist Wangari Maathai At Democracy Now! (historyisastateofmind.wordpress.com)