Wangari Muta Maathai: Founder of Kenyan Green party
On Friday, Wangari Muta Maathai became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Maathai, 64, started a tree-planting campaign in her native Kenya in 1976, the centerpiece of a grassroots rebellion among African women asserting their own rights while protesting the environmental degradation of their homeland.In her lifelong work, Maathai has embodied the pillars of the Green movement: non-violence, social justice, grassroots democracy and ecological wisdom.
More than 30 million trees have been planted across Africa in the nearly three decades since the Green Belt Movement began. As the effort grew, so did Maathai's stature among environmentalists and champions of human rights in the developing world.
In awarding Maathai's work, the Nobel Prize committee expressed what Greens have long known: "Peace on earth depends on our ability to secure our living environment."
"Maathai stands at the front of the fight to promote ecologically viable social, economic and cultural development in Kenya and in Africa. She has taken a holistic approach to sustainable development that embraces democracy, human rights and women's rights in particular. She thinks globally and acts locally."