Wangari Maathai Quotes

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Wangari Muta Maathai

Wangari Maathai holding a trophy awarded to her by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
Born Wangari Muta
(1940-04-01)1 April 1940
Ihithe village, Tetu division, Nyeri District, Kenya (then known as Nyeri, Kenya Colony)
Died 25 September 2011(2011-09-25) (aged 71)
Nairobi, Kenya
Citizenship Kenyan
Education

B.Sc: biology
M.Sc: biological sciences
Ph.D: veterinary anatomy

Alma mater

Benedictine College
University of Pittsburgh
University College of Nairobi

Occupation Environmentalist, political activist, writer
Known for Green Belt Movement
Awards Nobel Peace Prize (2004)
Indira Gandhi Peace Prize (2006)

That's the way I do things when I want to celebrate, I always plant a tree. And so I got an indigenous tree, called Nandi flame, it has this beautiful red flowers. When it is in flower it is like it is in flame.
Wangari Maathai
When resources are degraded, we start competing for them, whether it is at the local level in Kenya, where we had tribal clashes over land and water, or at the global level, where we are fighting over water, oil, and minerals. So one way to promote peace is to promote sustainable management and equitable distribution of resources.
Wangari Maathai
There's a general culture in this country to cut all the trees. It makes me so angry because everyone is cutting and no one is planting.
Wangari Maathai
And so I'm saying that, yes, colonialism was terrible, and I describe it as a legacy of wars, but we ought to be moving away from that by now.
Wangari Maathai
For me, one of the major reasons to move beyond just the planting of trees was that I have tendency to look at the causes of a problem. We often preoccupy ourselves with the symptoms, whereas if we went to the root cause of the problems, we would be able to overcome the problems once and for all.
Wangari Maathai
I know there is pain when sawmills close and people lose jobs, but we have to make a choice. We need water and we need these forests.
Wangari Maathai
You cannot blame the mismanagement of the economy or the fact that we have not invested adequately in education in order to give our people the knowledge, the skills and the technology that they need in order to be able to use the resources that Africa has to gain wealth.
Wangari Maathai
It was easy to persecute me without people feeling ashamed. It was easy to vilify me and project me as a woman who was not following the tradition of a 'good African woman' and as a highly educated elitist who was trying to show innocent African women ways of doing things that were not acceptable to African men.
Wangari Maathai
Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it survive, you haven't done a thing. You are just talking.
Wangari Maathai
We need to promote development that does not destroy our environment.
It would be good for us Africans to accept ourselves as we are and recapture some of the positive aspects of our culture.
Wangari Maathai
It's the little things citizens do. That's what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees.
Wangari Maathai
In Kenya women are the first victims of environmental degradation, because they are the ones who walk for hours looking for water, who fetch firewood, who provide food for their families.
Wangari Maathai
But when you have bad governance, of course, these resources are destroyed: The forests are deforested, there is illegal logging, there is soil erosion. I got pulled deeper and deeper and saw how these issues become linked to governance, to corruption, to dictatorship.
Wangari Maathai
I think what the Nobel committee is doing is going beyond war and looking at what humanity can do to prevent war. Sustainable management of our natural resources will promote peace.
Wangari Maathai
You can educate people on how to preempt their own conflict.
We are very fond of blaming the poor for destroying the environment. But often it is the powerful, including governments, that are responsible.
Wangari Maathai
I don't really know why I care so much. I just have something inside me that tells me that there is a problem, and I have got to do something about it. I think that is what I would call the God in me.
Wangari Maathai
I am working to make sure we don't only protect the environment, we also improve governance.
Wangari Maathai
Some say that AIDS came from the monkeys, and I doubt that because we have been living with monkeys from time immemorial, others say it was a curse from God, but I say it cannot be that.
Wangari Maathai
When you think of all the conflicts we have – whether those conflicts are local, whether they are regional or global – these conflicts are often over the management, the distribution of resources. If these resources are very valuable, if these resources are scarce, if these resources are degraded, there is going to be competition.
Wangari Maathai
It is important to nurture any new ideas and initiatives which can make a difference for Africa.
Wangari Maathai
All of us have a God in us, and that God is the spirit that unites all life, everything that is on this planet.
Wangari Maathai
When I first started, it was really an innocent response to the needs of women in rural areas. When we started planting trees to meet their needs, there was nothing beyond that. I did not see all the issues that I have to come to deal with.
Wangari Maathai
Women are responsible for their children, they cannot sit back, waste time and see them starve.
Wangari Maathai
African women in general need to know that it's OK for them to be the way they are – to see the way they are as a strength, and to be liberated from fear and from silence.
Wangari Maathai
In a few decades, the relationship between the environment, resources and conflict may seem almost as obvious as the connection we see today between human rights, democracy and peace.
Wangari Maathai
We owe it to ourselves and to the next generation to conserve the environment so that we can bequeath our children a sustainable world that benefits all.
Wangari Maathai
It's a matter of life and death for this country. The Kenyan forests are facing extinction and it is a man-made problem.
Wangari Maathai