Tribute to ‘the African Tree’ Wangari Muta Maathai.


I wasn’t sure it was the death of Wangari Maathai that I heard over one of the news channels Sunday 25th September, 2011; I thought it was news of her representing the voiceless women of Kenya or planting a new tree in the slope of Kilimanjaro. A quick check on-line confirmed the news. A colossal lost to mankind and the environment.

She was a classical example of how commoners can defend the destruction of their common resources using non violence approach. This strategy helped the establishment of the Green Belt Movement (GMB) in 1977 to plant trees in order to save the environment and the social condition of the rural poor.According to President Obama ’ The work of the Green Belt Movement stands as a testament to the power of grassroots organising, proof that one person’s simple idea — that a community should come together to plant trees — can make a difference, first in one village, then in one nation, and now across Africa.”

For the first time after the struggle for independence, Maathi brought the commons to the limelight; protested against govt enclosures and brought their requests to parliament. As a result, many projects that could have degraded the environment were suspended. Within 30 years, 4000 community groups in Kenya have been empowered to protect their environment through tree planting, administering their common lands and forming cooperatives for sustainable development.She sees the enclosure of Kenyan women as a gross abuse of human right; however she empowered them and mobilized about 900,000 women to establish tree nurseries and planted 30 million trees to reverse the effects of deforestation.  This great feat inspired the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Billion Tree Campaign in 2006 to plant over 11 billion trees world-wide.

Responding to the botched 2010 Copenhagen agreement she said” if every individual plants a tree, it will be the first simple step towards climate change”.Prof. Wangari Muta Maathai was honoured with the Nobel Peace Price in 2004 for her work on our environment. When we all pass on the environment remains; the most logical way the world would honour the ‘African Tree’ is by taking on board her initiative that countries that are willing and able to reduce emissions from deforestation should be financially compensated for doing so.


One Response to “Tribute to ‘the African Tree’ Wangari Muta Maathai.”

  1. ngoziokei Says:

    Yes, l agree with late Prof Wangari Muta Maathai, responding by every individual planting a tree, which is the first simple step towards climate change. It is difficult to believe and accept that this Novel Peace Price winner in 2004 has suddenly passed away after a prolonged and brave struggle of cancer on 25/09/2011, (71yrs) at the Nairobi hospital.
    “Wangari Maathai”, the Kenya environmentalist and human rights life campaigner is one of the examples, we should follow in this life, to save our environment, meet our basic needs, gain self-confidence and challenging the wide spread abuses of power.

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