Tuesday, September 27, 2011

RIP Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement and Nobel Peace Laureate

Wangari Maathai died on Sunday at the age of 71. She was the mother of three, the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate, and the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1977 Dr. Maatha f
ounded the Green Belt Movement, a non-profit organization based in Kenya, where she mobilized thousands of women to plant trees in an effort to restore the country's indigenous forests, introducing the the idea of community-based tree planting as an effective way to both fight poverty and natural resources degradation. Since 1977, GBM communities have planted over 45 million trees in Kenya to increase national forest cover and restore essential ecosystems. As forest cover has decreased over the years, communities have suffered from severe crop failure and water shortages. GBM’s community development programs that accompany tree-planting efforts have evolved to help women and their families address these basic needs at the grassroots level

For many, myself included, Wangari Maathai was a hero. As someone once told me her strength was in the simplicity of her message - Plant a tree, save the world. Simple actions are powerful. I also admire her ability to empower and inspire people all over the world with her vision, determination and positive thinking.

On receiving the news of being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, 2004 she said: “It is evident that many wars are fought over resources which are now becoming increasingly scarce. If we conserved our resources better, fighting over them would not then occur…so, protecting the global environment is directly related to securing peace…those of us who understand the complex concept of the environment have the burden to act. We must not tire, we must not give up, we must persist.”

You can read moore on her work at http://greenbeltmovement.org/w.php?id=59

R.I.P Wangari Maathai and thank you again for everything you did for us and for the legacy you're leaving behind you.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

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