‘The planting of trees is the planting of ideas. By starting with the simple act of planting a tree, we give hope to ourselves and to future generations.’ – Wangari Maathai
The first African woman and the first environmentalist ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 was Dr. Wangari Maathai from Kenya. In 1979 she started the Green Belt Movement, which aimed to use tree-planting programs to address the challenges of deforestation, soil erosion and lack of water. Today, more than 40 million trees have been planted across Africa.
As a result soil erosion has been reduced in critical watersheds, thousands of acres of biodiversity-rich indigenous forest have been restored and protected. Nowadays it has become a vehicle for empowering women helping hundreds of thousands of women and their families to stand up for their rights and those of their communities and so are living healthier, more productive lives. The GBM’s goal is to plant one billion trees worldwide in the next decade.
Their motto is that a healthy natural world is at the heart of an equitable and peaceful society. And protecting the environment is something every individual can take part in.