Inspirational Women: Wangari Maathi

“We tend to put the environment last because we think the first thing we have to do is eliminate poverty. But you can’t reduce poverty in a vacuum. You are doing it in an environment.”

Who was Wangari Maathi?

Kenyan born Wangari is known internationally for her environmental and humanitarian activism.  In 1977 she founded the Green Belt Movement (GBM), which not only protects the environment but reduces poverty through planting trees. GBM has planted over 50 million trees in Kenya and has spread the movement across Africa.

How did she make a difference? 

GBM empowers communities, and especially women, to control their own environmental, economic and political stability. Wangari demonstrated the connection between environmentalism and peace. Her movement mitigates conflict as the trees protect the earth which many communities live off. This stability means communities aren’t required to fight to survive.

Why does she inspire Team LITTLE BUD?

Wangari was a woman of many firsts. The first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree. The first female professor ever in her home country of Kenya. With these achievements she fought gender stereotypes by showing the world what Women can do. She opened the door for women to follow in her footsteps, supporting the movement for global gender equality.

But Wangari’s achievements don’t stop there! Including numerous board positions, Wangari has authored four books, been named a UN Messenger of Peace, was Member of Parliament in Kenya, and the Director of the Kenya Red Cross.

Wangari’s legacy is monumental; at LITTLE BUD we have a photo of her on our wall to remind us that women are so important in the fight against climate change.