Wangari Maathai was the founder of the Green Belt Movement and the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
In 1976, while she was serving in the National Council of Women, Professor Maathai introduced the idea of community-based tree planting. She had noticed the affect of climate change and deforestation on the land of Kenya and decided to tackle this problem directly. By getting communities to plant trees this would counter the negative affects of climate change. She continued to develop this idea into a broad-based grassroots organisation, the Green Belt Movement (GBM), whose main focus is poverty reduction and environmental conservation through tree planting.
You can learn more about her work here
Dr Maathai’s pioneering work was formally recognised when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.
Professor Maathai was internationally acknowledged for her struggle for democracy, human rights, and environmental conservation, and served on the board of many organisations. She addressed the UN on a number of occasions and spoke on behalf of women at special sessions of the General Assembly during the five-year review of the Earth Summit.
“It is the people who must save the environment. It is the people who must make their leaders change. And we cannot be intimidated. So we must stand up for what we believe in.”
– Wangari Maathai