Kenyan political activist and ecologist, founder of the organization Green Belt Movement and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner for “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace”.
In 1977 Wangari Mutates Maathai (Nyeri, Kenya, 1940) founded one of the initiatives that tried to combat the deforestation of Africa, the Green Belt Movement.
This environmentalist organization is responsible for planting more than 30 million trees in Kenya to avoid soil erosion and its environmental and social consequences.
Maathai, who since has received the nickname “Tree Woman”, has had to face controversy and persecution in her country due to being a woman and to her defense of nature.
In 1989, the activist managed to stop the construction of an urban development complex promoted by the then government. Likewise, in 2003 she founded the Mazingira Green Party of Kenya, an environmentalist political party.
At present, Maathai is an elected member of the Kenyan parliament and the Assistant Minister for Environment, Natural Resources and Wildlife in the government of Mwai Kibaki.
Planting 1,000 million trees in 2007
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), was established to counteract the effects of the deforestation of the past decade with a campaign to plant 1,000 million trees in 2007. Wangari Maathai launched the campaign.
The Green Belt Movement contributes to the UN initiative their knowledge of the reality in the rural zones of sub-Saharan Africa, where environmental degradation contributes to poverty, drought and other crippling consequences for the local populations.
More information on Wangari Mutates Maathai, in Wikipedia.