Dear Friends of Wangari Maathai School
I am writing to protest at the Wangari Maathai International School´s proposal to extend the school in Babelsberger Strasse, Berlin Wilmersdorf, at the expense of 19 small gardens in Stadtpark 1 Gartenkolonie e.V.
The destruction of the natural world in the name of a great woman, Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green belt Movement in Kenya, first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her work as an environmentalist and promoter of women´s rights, is to me quite shocking. She represents to me, a great leader and was active, years before climate change was taken seriously, as an example for us to follow to protect the environment.
It is a complete puzzle to me that you should have chosen a natural paradise on which to extend your school. For the local people, living in the area in apartments, in modest financial circumstances, the small garden society is an absolutely vital part of their well-being and lives. Children learn about nature, where they would not normally be exposed to it, old folks have a place to potter in and meet friends, the local community are welcomed to come and garden in the community garden. There is also a school garden in cooperation with a local school!
Why destroy it? Berlin is a rapidly developing city, indeed, but does it have to be at the expense of the local inhabitants?
Being an international metropole, in Berlin families come and go as parents move with jobs across the world. English is an international language and having bilingual schools is important, undoubtedly. There are a number of state-funded bilingual schools in Berlin. The long-established and popular Europe schools and Nelson Mandela International School promoting international understanding through bilingual education are a thriving and vital part of the school system. The Wangari Maathai International School is a welcome addition, however, when its expansion to a secondary school causes destruction and hurt, what is gained and what is destroyed?
I suggest, you seek an alternative site for the secondary school, in a place where it will not harm the environment and cause so much heartache and sorrow.
Patricia McFarlane-Steil, gardener in Stadtpark 1 Gartenkolonie e.V.