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This Week: Briefcase
This Week
February 18, 2005

This week on NOW:

When residents of St. Thomas Township, Pennsylvania opposed a company’s plans to build a quarry in their small town, they did a uniquely American thing: they elected a town supervisor who shared their view. The ensuing battle, like many around the nation that are pitting communities against corporations, raises a question at the heart of American democracy: can corporate rights trump the will of the people? NOW goes inside the controversy in St. Thomas Township by looking at how Frank Stearn, the newly elected official, steered clear of issues relating to the quarry and examines the legal status claimed by the corporation that stopped him in his tracks. “I mean, clearly, it does not speak well to most people's understanding of how democracy works,” says Stearn.

During the last three decades, Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, has inspired and organized poor women to plant some 30 million trees in her native Kenya and across the globe to conserve the environment and improve their quality of life. The first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree, she is internationally recognized for her persistent struggle for democracy, human rights and environmental conservation. “It is the leaders who are fighting over power and using resources to cause conflict between communities,” she says. “For me, it became very, very clear that you cannot protect the environment if you don't have good governance.” Speaking on behalf of women, Maathai has regularly addressed the UN and, in June 1997, she was elected by EARTH TIMES as one of 100 persons in the world who have made a difference in the environmental arena.

In Depth


Corporations and Legal Rights

Debating Corporate Rights

Wangari Maathai
Corporate Reform on NOW

Nobel Prize Winner Wangari Maathai

Women Around the World

Green Belt Tree
Environment and Community

Community Action Ideas

Environmental Checklist for Your Neighborhood


Talk back on the message boards.


Learn more about the issues discussed on NOW.

Read the complete transcript.

Streaming Video

[NOTE: RealPlayer is required to view NOW segments.]

Citizen, Inc. (15:49)

Nobel Prize Winner Wangari Maathai (7:42)


Citizen Inc.
Producer: Peter Meryash
Editor: Larry Goldfine

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