Science Bloggers for Students DonorsChoose Challenge

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Planting Trees for Peace - The Green Belt Movement

As an additional celebratory nod to Arbor Day, I would like to bring your attention to an International effort called the The Green Belt Movement. I first learned about this amazing program my first year of graduate school when my department co-sponsored a lecture by Dr. Wangari Maathai, the founder of this movement. She is a biologist, an environmentalist, and a human rights advocate. What started as a simple program, to get the women of rural Kenya to plant trees to address their dire needs for clean drinking water, stable soil for growing food and safety, and fire wood for fuel became a worldwide phenomenon. Before the Green Belt Movement, women were walking for hours to get to water sources and to gather fire wood, only to have their commute increase more and more each day. Trees, which were once more prominent in the landscape had been removed for new developments, were sorely missed and the ecological impacts (and the related political unrest) were growing. The recent NPR’s Speaking of Faith episode had and an interview with Dr. Wangari Maathai . At the lecture I attended years ago (before she won the Nobel Peace Prize) and on the radio, I must echo Krista Tippet’s sentiments, she is an awesome personality. I am honored that I had the opportunity to hear speak in person and meet her.

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