Wangarĩ Muta Maathai (/wænˈɡɑːri mɑːˈtaɪ/; 1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, and was the first African woman, and the first environmentalist to be named a Laureate.
Maathai had deep connections to the Brattleboro area. She was on the board of World Learning, a friend of Guilford Church, her documentary was shown at Latchis Theatre for a week, she planted a tree with students at Oak Grove School, and attracted a standing-room only crowd when she returned to Brattleboro after the publication of her second book.
“It is the people who must save the environment. It is the people who must make their leaders change. And we cannot be intimidated. So we must stand up for what we believe in.”
– Wangari Maathai
In 1977, Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women's rights. In 1984, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award for "converting the Kenyan ecological debate into mass action for reforestation". Maathai was an elected member of the Parliament of Kenya and between January 2003 and November 2005 served as assistant minister for environment and natural resources in the government of President Mwai Kibaki. She was an Honorary Councilor of the World Future Council.
Local filmmakers Lisa Merton & Alan Dater created a documentary about Maathai's Green Belt Movement.
Audio Production: Lisa Merton & Alan Dater, documentary filmmakers
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