Remembering Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai

“We have tried to instill in [young people] the idea that protecting the environment is not just a pleasure but also a duty.” -Wangari Maathai

This weekend marked the too-soon passing of Wangari Maathai. Maathai was the great mind behind Kenya’s Green-Belt movement, which trained women throughout Kenya to plant trees, addressing Kenya’s environmental problems and empowering women at the same time. For her groundbreaking work, Maathai won the Nobel Peace Prize – the first environmentalist and the first African woman to do so.

Maathai’s great gift to us was the proof that each of us can make a difference. In the face of grim scientific reports and political gridlock, taking care of the planet and reversing environmental damage can often feel like an impossible task – and more than one person could ever do. But Maathai reminded us that the responsibility belongs to every person who shares the planet, and that every person has the power to change things for the better.

Thank you, Wangari, for reminding us that great things can start with just one seed.

Share Wangari’s life and work with Seeds of Change: Planting the Path to Peace and use our free classroom guide to help spark deeper discussion with young readers.

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