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The Time is Now

In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other.

That time is now.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has challenged the world to broaden the understanding of peace: there can be no peace without equitable development; and there can be no development without sustainable management of the environment in a democratic and peaceful space. This shift is an idea whose time has come.

- Human rights advocate and environmental conservationist, Wangari Maathai, born today in 1940. In 2004, Maathai was awarded the Noble Peace Prize “for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.”

Infinite Objects

The writer of stories or of novels settles on men and imitates them; he exhausts the possibilities of his characters. The poet is alone with infinite objects in his own obscure sphere and does not know whether he should be indifferent or hopeful. Later that single face will multiply; those gestures will become approving or disapproving opinions. This happens at the publication of the first poems. As the poet has expected, the alarms now are sounded, for — and it must be said again — the birth of a poet is always a threat to the existing cultural order, because he attempts to break through the circle of literary castes to reach the center.

– Italian poet Salvatore Quasimodo, winner of the 1959 Nobel Prize in Literature, born today in 1901

New Territory

[...] I believe that we have been doing this not primarily to achieve riches or even honour, but rather because we were interested in the work, enjoyed doing it and felt very strongly that it was worthwhile.

Scientific research is one of the most exciting and rewarding of occupations. It is like a voyage of discovery into unknown lands, seeking not for new territory but for new knowledge. It should appeal to those with a good sense of adventure.

Nobel Banquet speech, December 10, 1980, of two-time Prize-winner biochemist Frederick Sanger (born today in 1918)

Utopia of Life

[...] William Faulkner said, “I decline to accept the end of man.” I would fall unworthy of standing in this place that was his, if I were not fully aware that the colossal tragedy he refused to recognize thirty-two years ago is now, for the first time since the beginning of humanity, nothing more than a simple scientific possibility. Faced with this awesome reality that must have seemed a mere utopia through all of human time, we, the inventors of tales, who will believe anything, feel entitled to believe that it is not yet too late to engage in the creation of the opposite utopia. A new and sweeping utopia of life, where no one will be able to decide for others how they die, where love will prove true and happiness be possible, and where the races condemned to one hundred years of solitude will have, at last and forever, a second opportunity on earth.

Nobel Lecture of Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, born today in 1927