Wangari Muta Maathai (1940 to September, 25th 2011) was
born in Nyeri, Kenya (Africa). The first woman in East and Central Africa to
earn a doctorate degree, Professor Maathai obtained a degree in Biological
Sciences from Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas (1964). She
subsequently earned a Master of Science degree from the University of
Pittsburgh (1966). Professor Maathai pursued doctoral studies in Germany and
the University of Nairobi, obtaining a Ph.D. (1971) from the University of
Nairobi where she also taught veterinary anatomy. She became chair of the
Department of Veterinary Anatomy and an associate professor in 1976 and 1977
respectively. In both cases, she was the first woman to attain those
positions in the region.
Unbowed: A Memoir
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Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Anchor (September 4, 2007)
Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.3 x 1 inches
"I can't recommend Wangari's 'Unbowed' enough. It is more than a story of a remarkable women's life, who unquestionably has reshaped Africa ... but a women who, through her life, teaches us to stay strong in our own beliefs, to be brave enough to take the time to notice one another, and to realize that we are all in this together. Peace back my friend..."
--Peter Thomas Senese, author of The Den of the Assassin
In Unbowed, Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai recounts her extraordinary journey from her childhood in rural Kenya to the world stage. When Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977, she began a vital poor people’s environmental movement, focused on the empowerment of women, that soon spread across Africa. Persevering through run-ins with the Kenyan government and personal losses, and jailed and beaten on numerous occasions, Maathai continued to fight tirelessly to save Kenya’s forests and to restore democracy to her beloved country. Infused with her unique luminosity of spirit, Wangari Maathai’s remarkable story of courage, faith, and the power of persistence is destined to inspire generations to come.
Challenge for Africa
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Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (October 19, 2010)
Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.9 inches
Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and founder of the Green Belt Movement, offers a refreshingly unique perspective on the challenges facing Africa, even as she calls for a moral revolution among Africans themselves, who, she argues, are culturally deracinated, adrift between worlds.
The troubles of Africa today are severe and wide-ranging. Yet what we see of them in the media, more often than not, are tableaux vivantes connoting poverty, dependence, and desperation. Wangari Maathai presents a different vision, informed by her three decades as an environmental activist and campaigner for democracy. She illuminates the complex and dynamic nature of the continent, and offers “hardheaded hope” and “realistic options” for change and improvement. With clarity of expression, Maathai analyzes the most egregious “bottlenecks to development in Africa,” occurring at the international, national, and individual levels--cultural upheaval and enduring poverty among them--and deftly describes what Africans can and need to do for themselves, stressing all the while responsibility and accountability.
Impassioned and empathetic, The Challenge for Africa is a book of immense importance.
the Earth: Spiritual Values for Healing Ourselves and the World
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Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Doubleday Religion; Original edition (September 14, 2010)
Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.5 inches
An impassioned call to heal the wounds of our planet and ourselves through the tenets of our spiritual traditions, from a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
It is so easy, in our modern world, to feel disconnected from the physical earth. Despite dire warnings and escalating concern over the state of our planet, many people feel out of touch with the natural world. Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai has spent decades working with the Green Belt Movement to help women in rural Kenya plant—and sustain—millions of trees. With their hands in the dirt, these women often find themselves empowered and “at home” in a way they never did before. Maathai wants to impart that feeling to everyone, and believes that the key lies in traditional spiritual values: love for the environment, self-betterment, gratitude and respect, and a commitment to service. While educated in the Christian tradition, Maathai draws inspiration from many faiths, celebrating the Jewish mandate tikkun olam (“repair the world”) and renewing the Japanese term mottainai (“don’t waste”). Through rededication to these values, she believes, we might finally bring about healing for ourselves and the earth.
Green Belt Movement: Sharing the Approach and the Experience
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Paperback: 117 pages
Publisher: Lantern Books; Revised edition (March 1, 2003)
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6 x 0.5 inches
Wangari Muta Maathai was born in Nyeri, Kenya in 1940. In 1960, she won a Kennedy scholarship to study in America and earned a master’s degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh and became the first woman in East Africa to earn a Ph.D.
Returning to Kenya in 1966, Wangari Maathai was shocked at the degradation of the forests and the farmland caused by deforestation. Heavy rains had washed away much of the topsoil, silt was clogging the rivers, and fertilizers were depriving the soil of nutrients. Wangari decided to solve the problem by planting trees.
Under the auspices of the National Council of Women of Kenya, of which she was chairwoman from 1981 to 1987, she introduced the idea of planting trees through citizen foresters in 1976, and called this new organization the Green Belt Movement (GBM). She continued to develop GBM into broad-based, grassroots organization whose focus was women’s groups planting of trees in order to conserve the environment and improve their quality of life. Through the Green Belt Movement, Wangari Maathai has assisted women in planting more than 20 million trees on their farms and on schools and church compounds in Kenya and all over East Africa.
In Africa, as in many parts of the world, women are responsible for meals and collecting firewood. Increasing deforestation has not only meant increasing desertification, but it has also meant that women have had to travel further and further afield in order to collect the firewood. This in turn has led to women spending less time around the home, tending to crops, and looking after their children. By staying closer to home, earning income from sustainably harvesting the fruit and timber from trees, women not only can be more productive, they can provide stability in the home. They can also create time for education opportunities—whether for themselves or their children.
This virtuous circle of empowerment through conservation is serving as a model throughout the world, where women both individually and collectively are entrusted with money and material to invest it in ways that make a difference to their daily lives. Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt Movement is a great example of how one person can turn around the lives of thousands, if not millions of others, by empowering others to change their situation.
Wangari’s road to success was by no means easy. During the 1970s and 1980s, she came under increasing scrutiny from the government of Daniel arap Moi. She was frequently the target of vilification from the government, as well as subject to outright attacks and imprisonment. She refused to compromise her belief that the people were best trusted to look after their natural resources, as opposed to the corrupt cronies of the government, who were given whole swathes of public land, which they then despoiled.
In January 2003, Wangari Maathai was elected by an overwhelming margin to Parliament, where she is the Assistant Secretary for Environnment, Wildlife, and Natural Resources in the democratically elected Kibaki government. Even though she is now being protected by the very same soldiers who once arrested her, her voice on behalf of the environment is still strong and determined.
In The Green Belt Movement, founder Wangari Maathai tells its story: why it started, how it operates, and where it is going. She includes the philosophy behind it, its challenges and objectives, and the specific steps involved in starting a similar grassroots environmental and social justice organization. The Green Belt Movement is the inspiring story of people working at the grassroots level to improve their environment and their country. Their story offers ideas about a new and hopeful future for Africa and the rest of the world.
the Green Belt Movement