Green Heroes pp 181-185 | Cite as

A Passion for Trees – Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement

  • László Erdős


During her field work in the Kenyan countryside, biologist Wangari Maathai realised how destructive deforestation is, and decided to take action against it. Launching the Green Belt Movement, she started a tree-planting project. In addition, she spoke up for women’s rights and became a member of the Kenyan pro-democracy movement, for which she was arrested. But the Green Belt Movement began to flourish and spread to other countries. Up to now the Movement has established thousands of tree nurseries, mobilised hundreds of thousands of participants, and planted tens of millions of trees. Wangari Maathai showed that it is possible to reduce poverty and combat environmental destruction simultaneously by community-based programmes. In 2004 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize ‘for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.’


Deforestation Afforestation Tree nursery Uhuru Park Karura Forest Community-based programmes Pro-democracy movement 

Worth Reading

  1. Maathai, W. (2004). The Green Belt Movement: Sharing the approach and the experience. New York: Lantern Books.Google Scholar
  2. Maathai, W. (2007). Unbowed: A Memoir. New York: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
  3. Maathai, W. (2010a). Replenishing the Earth: Spiritual values for healing ourselves and the world. New York: Doubleday Religion.Google Scholar
  4. Maathai, W. (2010b). The challenge for Africa. London: Arrow Books.Google Scholar

Worth Browsing

  1. Worth Watching

    1. Wangari Maathai: The Eco-Warrior with a Smile (2012)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • László Erdős
    • 1
  1. 1.MTA-DE Lendület Functional and Restoration Ecology Research Group, DebrecenInstitute of Ecology and Botany MTA Centre for Ecological ResearchVácrátótHungary

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