Wangari Maathai: A ForestNation Heroine
Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt Movement (GBM) has planted over 51 million trees and trained 20,000 community members in natural resource management. It is also responsible for supplying about 30,000 Kenyan women with new skills and job opportunities since its launch in 1977. If this isn’t enough, the movement has also created a program to fight climate change. The GBM works to improve the world around us.
The purpose of the Green Belt Movement is to combine environmental activism with women’s rights. This campaign provides jobs for women to improve their communities through environmental activism. Essentially, these women plant trees in their villages to bring back wildlife and stir up the local economy. By doing this, the movement is aiming at world issues from the ground up. They simply don’t believe in trickle down economics, and want to take action where it counts.
Responsible for these strides in environmental history is founder, coordinator and chair of the movement: Wangari Maathai.
Wangari Maathai was born to a farmer in the village of Nyeri, Kenya, in 1940. It was from these humble beginnings that she became the first woman in Central Africa to earn a doctoral degree. She then worked her way up to chairman on the National Council of Women of Kenya. It was here that she first came up with the idea of community based environmental activism. Thus, the Green Belt Movement was born. Her next mission was, of course, to work day and night to improve the places around her. By doing this, as well as cheering on others to join her cause, she became a true heroine in our eyes.
Mathaai’s words speak with us here at ForestNation: “When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and hope.” Her dreams and values simply parallel ours.
Furthermore, Maathai has been given many awards for her accomplishments in the environmental sphere. In 2004, she received the Nobel Peace Prize for her “contribution to sustainable development, democracy, and peace.” Her service to the Earth have proven her a true pioneer in the history of environmentalism. Sadly, Maathai lost her battle with cancer in 2011. In the end, she will always be remembered for her and great work, strong drive and warm heart. Her legacy and message will forever live on even though she has left us.
Essentially, Mathaai’s goals go hand in hand with ForestNation’s. By creating a world where we take care of each other, we can take care of mother Earth. One tree at a time.