By Georgeann Johnson
What does it take to change a country? In this case it took a stubborn woman with grit and courage. A woman named Wangari Maathai, born in rural Kenya in 1940. Maathai attended a Catholic Mission school as a boarder. Several years later she was given a scholarship to attend college in Kansas where she majored in biology and chemistry. She then went to Pittsburgh and became involved in an environmental restoration project.
Taking Root by Lisa Merton and Alan Dater
Discussion to follow film
Tue, Jul 12, 1—3:30pm
Teatro Santa Ana
She returned to Kenya with a doctorate and became involved in various civic organizations. The more she saw of Kenya’s problems the more convinced she became of the connection between social problems and environmental degradation. She started a program, Envirocore, that provided jobs in urban restoration.
In 1977 she got involved in a UN program called the World Environment Project. This became known as the Green Belt Movement in Kenya. Her environmental actions brought her up against Politics. She fought government officials, her husband, and the police. She was thrown in jail; she was released. She fought, ran for office, was jailed, and released. This went on until she won the Goldman Environmental prize for her work with the Green Belt. This gave her national recognition so that the next time she ran for office, she won. She formed the political Green Party wherein people could run for the environment. In 2004 she gained the world stage with winning the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2006 she helped lead the UN program of planting a billion trees.
You may have heard the statement: “ A group of women planted 6 million trees in Kenya.” Don’t miss this film and story of the woman behind the movement that helped change lives, and a country.