You may not recognize the name Wangari Maathai. I do because I heard her speak at a Dallas Women’s Foundation luncheon in October 2006.
Maathai, who died recently of cancer, was an incredible woman.
She won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for her environmental work .
She started the Green Belt Movement, which has planted some 40 million trees across Africa. The movement helps restore forests by paying rural women to plant trees in their villages.
She was the first woman in east and central Africa to earn a PhD—and also the first African woman and the first Kenyan to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
She served as a member of parliament and environment assistant minister in Kenya from 2003 to 2005.
In her book Unbowed, Maathai writes: “Trees have been an essential part of my life and have provided me with many lessons. Trees are living symbols of peace and hope. A tree has roots in the soil yet reaches to the sky. It tells us that in order to aspire we need to be grounded, and that no matter how high we go it is from our roots that we draw sustenance.”