“Women have become aware that planting trees or fighting to save forests from being chopped down is part of a larger mission to create a society that respects democracy, decency, adherence to the rule of law, human rights, and the rights of women.”
NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE PROFESSOR WANGARI MATHAI
I am just now hearing of the passing of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Wangari Mathai, who created The Green Belt Movement and with the help of rural communities led by women planted forty million trees across Africa, transforming deserts to forests and women from victims of poverty into agents of their own economic empowerment. I am shedding real tears of sorrow for the loss of her. I believe she was the greatest woman leader of our time, she knew the connection between forests and peace and prosperity. Between economic empowerment and equal rights for women and the wellbeing of the whole community and how planting trees would bring them to that empowered place.
When I first heard of Professor Mathai and her tree magic that was saving the Earth and the lives of women in Kenya, I was already having my own obsessive thoughts about the connection between trees and forests and the wellbeing of the community. Once I knew of her and the Nobel Peace Prize she won for her work I no longer felt silly talking about how I was sure that if we planted more trees, more gardens, there would be less terrible crime, less poverty, less despair. That more trees meant more beauty, more peace, more abundance, more food, more water, more spirit, more hope, more equality, more empowerment for women, more positive transformation into a race of humans that once again lives in harmony with the Earth Mother and with one another. Professor Mathai affirmed for me that we can indeed reforest the Earth and save the human race, that it is not too late. I know her fabulous Green Belt Movement will continue their great work across Africa and she will be their spirit guide.
As for me, I will plant a tree in thanks for her life, of course, this is the best way I can celebrate her legacy on this sad day.