When Wangari Maathai won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work founding the Greenbelt Movement, the word “pioneering” got thrown around a lot, and often applied to the Nobel laureate’s gender. Maathai was a pioneer, but not because she was woman: if anything, social entrepreneurship involves recognizing the value of activities often denigrated as “women’s work.” This year, the United Nations Environment Programme’s SEED Award continued this fallacy with its creation of a “gender equality” prize: just a quick look at the 34 other social enterprises it recognized with awards this year shows that when it comes to creating businesses around activities that value people and planet while creating a profit, women seem to “get it” much more often than their male counterparts.
On Saturday, March 27th, at 8:30 local time, the lights will go out in millions of homes, businesses, and schools in celebration of Earth Hour 2010. Started in Sydney, Australia in 2007, Earth Hour is now a global event organized by WWF in which people show their support for environmental action by turning off the lights for one hour. This year, 120 countries and territories will take part in this show of solidarity (up from 88 last year).