Monday, September 26, 2011

A tribute to Wangari Mathaai the GREEN lady!

To me interviewing her in Bali last hyear, she seemed a font of energy and drive. The founder of the Green Belt Movement way back in 1977 when the word green did not even exist in our minds, Wangari planted over 30 million trees in Africa to help women in rural Kenya to plant trees as a means of improving their livelihoods through better access to clean water, firewood for cooking and other resources. Since then, the Green Belt Movement has planted over 30 million trees in Africa and assisted nearly 900,000 women to establish tree nurseries and plant trees to reverse the effects of deforestation.

Just imagine those full grown trees today, waving their branches in tribute to the woman who planted them and left them as her legacy of green gold to Africa.

Professor Maathai was the inspiration behind UNEP’s Billion Tree Campaign, which was launched in 2006. She became a patron of the campaign, inspiring thousands of people across the world to plant trees for the benefit of their communities. To date, over 11 billion trees have been planted as part of the campaign.

In 2004, the Nobel Prize Committee recognized Professor Maathai’s lifelong commitment to environmental sustainability and the empowerment of women by awarding her the Nobel Peace Prize. She was the first environmentalist and the first African woman to receive the honour.

I salute you along with all of us environment journalists. Your life has been taken away, yes, but the trees you have planted stand as living testimony to your foresight and clear ideals to clean up our planet.

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