26 September, 2011 – On behalf of our Founder, Board of Trustees and staff we offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and comrades of the late Professor Wangari Maathai.
It was with great sadness that we learned today of the passing of this exceptional environmental activist.
Her work with the Green Belt Movement in Kenya and as an activist for civil and women’s rights in Kenya and beyond received worthy recognition internationally when she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2004.
We were honoured in 2005 to have had Prof Maathai, then Deputy Minister of Environment in Kenya, deliver the Third Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture.
“We need people who love Africa so much that they want to protect her from destructive processes,” she said in her address. “There are simple actions we can take. Start by planting ten trees we each need to absorb the carbon dioxide we exhale. Practise the 3R campaign (reduce, re-use, repair and re-use, which is mottainai in Japanese), get involved in local initiatives and volunteer your time for services in your community. Governments should prioritise technical schools and give people knowledge and skills for self-employment.”
Prof Maathai has left a lasting legacy in greater awareness and work in protecting our environment and the world.