Wangari Maathai

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by rsierra03
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Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai

Environmental and Political Activist

Founded the Green Belt Movement: "An environmental organization that empowers communities, particularly women, to conserve the environment and improve livelihoods", particulary through the use of tree planting.( Founded the Mazingira Green Party of Kenya: Gave candidates the chance to run for office with conservation as their platform. -Founded the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies to "bring together academic research—e.g. in land use, forestry, agriculture, resource-based conflicts, and peace studies—with the Green Belt Movement approach and members of the organisation." ( - Major supporter of environment conservation, democracy (especially women's rights) and peace-Millions of tree nurseries

-Experiencing environmental restoration while studying in Pittsburg.-Gender and tribal bias in Africa.-Equal benefits for women in the workforce, which she was able to accomplish while working at the University of Nairobi.-The realization that environmental degradation was the root of the majority of Kenya's problems.-The idea of linking jobs to environmental restoration in Kenya through tree planting.

Wangari's Vision

Awards and Honors

1983: Woman of the Year Award1989: Woman of the World Award1991: Global 500 Hall of Fame: United Nations Environment Progamme1991: The Hunger Project's Africa Prize for Leadership1997: One of the 100 in the World Who've Made a Difference in the Environment 2004: Nobel Peace Prize 2006: 6th in 100 Greatest Eco-Heroes of All Time 2006: The Indira Gandhi International Award for Peace, Disarmament ' Development2007: The Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights2010: Earth Hall of Fame

-Wangari's organization, The Green Belt Movement, continues to promote and support environmental restoration through tree planting. The organization and its communities have planted more than 51 million trees in Kenya alone.- The Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies also continues to push environmental restoration through extensive research on the environment and sustainable development and putting the research into practice. - Environmental protection today is present in a number of ways around the world from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the U.S., electric cars, solar and wind energy to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Organizations and innovative ideas like these have made protecting the environment an urgent and important issue.

Environmental Protection Today

"Wangari Muta Maathai was born in Nyeri, a rural area of Kenya (Africa), in 1940. She obtained a degree in Biological Sciences from Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas (1964), a Master of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh (1966), and pursued doctoral studies in Germany and the University of Nairobi, before obtaining a Ph.D. (1971) from the University of Nairobi, where she also taught veterinary anatomy. The first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree, Professor Maathai became chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and an associate professor in 1976 and 1977 respectively. In both cases, she was the first woman to attain those positions in the region." ( went on to become heavily involved in the fight for peace, women's rights and environmental conservation and restoration through the planting of trees. She was a great advocate for doing your best, often referring to the lone hummingbird who did the best he could to put out a fire destroying his home by gathering small amounts of water with his beak and throwing it on the fire. In 2004 she became the first African woman to be awarded the Noble Peace Prize for her efforts to "sustainable development, democracy and peace" ( She continued to be an advocate of environmental conservation and was actively involved in a number of organizations that supported this cause. Wangari Maathai died on September 25, 2011 from ovarian cancer. Memorials were held in her honor across the world. And to this day a memorial is held in Wangari's honor on the anniversay of her death in Nairobi at Wangari Maathai Corner in the Karura forest. Her legacy lives on in her work, the Green Belt Movement and the millions of trees planted in support of her vision.

Who is Wangari Maathai?


Influences and Spirit of the Time

For more on Wangari Maathai visit:www.greenbeltmovement.org


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