Wangari Maathai, our Mother Nature: A life spent defending nature to better help humans

Her life journey is exemplary, her determination to act for the preservation of the environment is comparable to her humility.

Wangari Maathai is one of those people that life so rarely presents us with. Yes, life seems short on those who, like Wangari Maathai, will deploy an unlimited energy and the advocacy of global concern.

Born in Kenya in 1940, she became very early aware of the benefits of safeguarding plant species in order to provide an additional opportunity for our ecosystem to support the delicate yet essential balance between human being and environment. The task is as rough as it is enormous, especially because the promises of results will only reveal themselves clearly and primarily in the long term.

In 1977, she founded the Green Belt Movement, which will achieve the planting of more than ten million trees on the African continent to help people affected by the impoverishment of the soil and the need for wood.

Trying to convincing her fellows and build support for her ecological cause, like all pioneers, Wangari Maathai meets with skepticism, resistance and other forms of adversity. Has she fed on all these obstacles? It is highly likely.
Her life provides ample material to fight, to engage: the first woman PhD student in Kenya, a former academic, Deputy Minister of the Environment and even candidate for presidency in 1997 Kenya.

“In A Few Decades, The Relationship Between the environment, resources and conflict May SEEM Almost as Obvious as the connection we see today Between human rights, democracy and peace”, she said, as to summarise the essence and the main clue of her struggle.

The resounding echo of her work properly throughout the world, Wangari Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. Her last fight led her to participate in the Green Noah’s Ark of the Arctic and more recently to mobilise for the vegetable riches of the Congo Basin.

Woman of heart and courage Wangari Maathai passed away on September 26th, 2011.
For our planet, we must hope that her ecological cause continues to mobilise more followers.

Original photo by Patrick Wallet. Written by Weyah Angis. Translation from French to English by Mateo Mundo.