Celebrating the Kenyan environmentalist, founder of the Green Belt Movement and first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Wangari said: “It’s the little things citizens do that make the difference. My little thing is planting trees.”
This Black History Month, we are celebrating the inspirational life story of Professor Wangari Maathai (1940- 2011).
The Kenyan environmentalist Wangari worked tirelessly to restore, conserve and campaign for the forest environment in Kenya and across Africa for the benefit of local people and their way of life. 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of her death.
We are also celebrating another Kenyan woman, Mary Njoki, who lives and works in Scotland and who continues to bring Wangari’s life story and achievements to the attention of people here. Not only has Mary persuaded the City of Edinburgh Council to plant 60 trees in Wangari’s memory, she also arranged for a commemorative tree - a Betula lenta - to be planted at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 2012.
Image: Mary Njoki with the newly planted tree in 2012
Nearly 10 years on, the tree is thriving beside the Pond at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh where visitors can enjoy the tree and read a dedication to Wangari.
Learn more about Mary’s campaign to plant more trees in Wangari’s honour.
Image: Mary Njoki standing by the Betula Lenta
In 1977, Wangari founded the Green Belt Movement, a grassroots organization which encouraged rural women to set up tree nurseries to grow trees for sale and subsequent re-planting to reduce poverty and restore Africa’s forests.
Like Wangari and Mary, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is committed to planting trees and is part of Edinburgh’s ambitious plans to be a Million Tree City by 2030.
Find out more about the Edinburgh Million Tree City Project
For more information about Black History Month visit blackhistorymonth.org.uk
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