25 October, 2006

Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai
“When you have the environment degraded, it is always so that we are going to fight over the few resources that are left.”

“We are very fond of blaming the poor for destroying the environment. But often it is the powerful, including governments, that are responsible.”

“We can work together for a better world with men and women of goodwill, those who radiate the intrinsic goodness of humankind.”

"Throughout Africa, women are the primary caretakers, holding significant responsibility for tilling the land and feeding their families. As a result, they are often the first to become aware of environmental damage as resources become scarce and incapable of sustaining their families."

"We have planted over 30 million trees that provide fuel, food, shelter, and income to support their children's education and household needs. The activity also creates employment and improves soils and watersheds. Through their involvement, women gain some degree of power over their lives, especially their social and economic position and relevance in the family."

"Using trees as a symbol of peace is in keeping with a widespread African tradition. For example, the elders of the Kikuyu carried a staff from the thigi tree that, when placed between two disputing sides, caused them to stop fighting and seek reconciliation. Many communities in Africa have these traditions."

"Anybody can dig a hole and plant a tree. But make sure it survives. You have to nurture it, you have to water it, you have to keep at it until it becomes rooted so it can take care or itself. There are so many enemies of trees."

"Those of us who have been privileged to receive education, skills, and experiences and even power must be role models for the next generation of leadership."

"To the young people I say, you are a gift to your communities and indeed the world. You are our hope and our future."

"My inspiration partly comes from my childhood experiences and observations of Nature in rural Kenya. It has been influenced and nurtured by the formal education I was privileged to receive in Kenya, the United States and Germany. As I was growing up, I witnessed forests being cleared and replaced by commercial plantations, which destroyed local biodiversity and the capacity of the forests to conserve water."

+ More quotes of Wangari Maathai here


+ Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai

* Photo: BBC News

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