Tribute: Wangari Maathai

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, when she was recognized for her work in sustainable development. In 1977, she launched the Green Belt movement, putting thousands of Kenyan women to work planting trees to restore the country’s forests. She traveled the world discussing the connections between poverty and environmental deterioration. She died recently at the age of 71 and you can hear her 2006 conversation with Leonard Lopate.


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Comments [1]

Mia MacDonald from Brooklyn

Thanks for replaying this wonderful interview. I accompanied Wangari to your studio that day and as I recall, we'd gotten caught in traffic and she was late. I've known and worked with Wangari for the last decade or so, and would recommend that people interested in her life and work read her books -- her memoir, Unbowed, as well as the Challenge for Africa, Replenishing the Earth, and her account of the Green Belt Movement's birth and development. Information about all of these as well as moving tributes to her from the great and the good and citizens from around the world are available at:

Finally, on this sad occasion, I've been remembering a very happy time: when Wangari was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, something she'd never in a million years (or trees) anticipated. I was with her in Kenya that day and wrote an account of it for the L.A. Times. Some people might enjoy reading it -- her reaction to the news was classic Wangari:

Sep. 27 2011 02:37 PM

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