Global HotSpots

POTUS in Kenya

Obama’s visit to the roots of our civilization, not just his own.

The African fish eagle in Naivasha Lake National Park, Kenya. (Credit: Pal Teravagimov - Shutterstock.com)

Takeaways


  • In the African Rift Valley, all human beings originated and invented our culture of collaboration.
  • In Kenya, Nobel Prize winner Wangari Mathai preservies parks and plants trees.
  • In Rome, Pope Francis suggests that the appropriate solutions lie in ecosystem management.
  • Our arc of migration from the Rift Valley to democracy has taught us that we need to plan, implement and persevere.

The President of the United States, Barack Obama, recently paid a visit to the land of our birth – not just that of his father. For all of us humans originally come from the African Rift Valley.

It is there that our ancestors’ bones are found. And there we learned to make stone tools – and to hunt collectively. There we also learned to control fire, and desire.

And it was there that we invented our culture of collaboration which, along with ants, distinguishes our species.

This also allowed us to invent religions and, along with ants, to conquer the earth.

In debt to our planet

In Kenya, the U.S. President gazed at the challenges that confront the world, despite or perhaps because of our presence.

Thousands of generations of humans have fed from the groaning board of plenty.

But now, a waiter suddenly appears, towel over his arm, and primly asks: “To whom do I present the bill?” We look around — left, right…We are in debt to our planet.

Circling the globe, we look for solutions. In Kenya, Nobel Prize winner Wangari Mathai found part of the answer in preserving parks and planting trees.

In Rome, Pope Francis suggests that the appropriate solutions lie in ecosystem management.

The cultural arc from the Rift Valley to democracy

Meanwhile, people seeking peace and opportunity flee the conflict and struggle that has taken hold of much of the African continent.

Arriving at the northern rim of Africa, they pay outlandish fees for a berth on a leaky boat. Many perish within sight of European beaches.

And still, we look for answers, for pathways. In Kenya, President Obama will have sensed the raw challenges of our civilization in plain sight, with few answers in view.

Our cultural arc of migration, from the Rift Valley to democracy, has taught us that we need to plan, to implement and to persevere.

President Obama has encouraged trade, collaboration, cooperation, synergy and, above all, education.

Can we all move fast enough towards a solution before the wheels spin from the bus?

Tags: , , , , , , ,

About Bob Raynolds

Bob Raynolds is a research associate at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Responses to “POTUS in Kenya”

If you would like to comment, please visit our Facebook page.

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary Cookies

The use of certain cookies is required for the site to function correctly.

Advertising

Analytics

Improve content and site performance.

Other