Wangari Maathai also worked extensively for environmental protection and restoration in the face of many obstacles. Maathai is an environmental and political activist, Nobel Peace Prize winner (2004), and founder of the Green Belt Movement, an international NGO focused on planting trees to prevent soil erosion and provide resources for villages (Maathai, 2006). Maathai is an intellectual turned activist, who found a way of applying her knowledge and skills for overall well being of both the planet and Kenyan people.
In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement demonstrate the intimate connection between sustainable management of Africa’s rich natural resources, democracy, good governance and peace. (Maathai, 2006)” I admire Maathai’s dedication, determination, and ability to seem to overcome all odds. I also find her work of cultivating peace through natural and ecologically sound techniques refreshing and a good example for the global community trying to find more sustainable solutions to development issues. While I don’t always agree with her statements, such as her controversial critique of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, I do admire her ability to encourage critical thinking and constant questioning of the status quo.
Not to mention the woman has an incredible sense of style and eye for bold loud prints which highlight her beauty and embrace her culture. While I would probably never wear such prints and patterns, I admire and am continually awed by how stunning Maathai is in a very conventional way.
At the recommendation of Hanners, I'm anxiously awaiting when I have time to read Maathai's memoir, Unbowed.