Wangari Maathai quotes
Birthdate: 1. April 1940
Date of death: 25. September 2011
Wangari Muta Maathai was an internationally renowned Kenyan environmental political activist and Nobel laureate. She was educated in the United States at Mount St. Scholastica and the University of Pittsburgh, as well as the University of Nairobi in Kenya.
In 1977, Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women's rights. In 1984, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, and in 2004, she became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for "her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace". Maathai was an elected member of Parliament and served as assistant minister for Environment and Natural Resources in the government of President Mwai Kibaki between January 2003 and November 2005. She was an Honorary Councillor of the World Future Council. In 2011, Maathai died of complications from ovarian cancer.
Quotes Wangari Maathai
„The people are starving. They need food; they need medicine; they need education. They do not need a skyscraper to house the ruling party and a 24-hour TV station.“
On her opposition to the construction of a skyscraper in Nairobi, Kenya, as quoted in the article Wangari Maathai:"You Strike The Woman ..." by Priscilla Sears in the quarterly In Context #28 (Spring 1991)
„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.
All of us have a God in us, and that God is the spirit that unites all life, everything that is on this planet. It must be this voice that is telling me to do something, and I am sure it's the same voice that is speaking to everybody on this planet — at least everybody who seems to be concerned about the fate of the world, the fate of this planet.“
As quoted in the article Wangari Maathai:"You Strike The Woman ..." http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC28/Sears.htm by Priscilla Sears; published in the quarterly In Context #28 (Spring 1991)
„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.“
Speech at Goldman Awards, San Francisco (24 April 2006)
„I kept stumbling and falling and stumbling and falling as I searched for the good. 'Why?' I asked myself. Now I believe that I was on the right path all along, particularly with the Green Belt Movement, but then others told me that I shouldn't have a career, that I shouldn't raise my voice, that women are supposed to have a master. That I needed to be someone else. Finally I was able to see that if I had a contribution I wanted to make, I must do it, despite what others said. That I was OK the way I was. That it was all right to be strong.“
As quoted in the article Wangari Maathai:"You Strike The Woman ..." by Priscilla Sears in the quarterly In Context #28 (Spring 1991)
„As I conclude I reflect on my childhood experience when I would visit a stream next to our home to fetch water for my mother. I would drink water straight from the stream. Playing among the arrowroot leaves I tried in vain to pick up the strands of frogs’ eggs, believing they were beads. But every time I put my little fingers under them they would break. Later, I saw thousands of tadpoles: black, energetic and wriggling through the clear water against the background of the brown earth. This is the world I inherited from my parents. Today, over 50 years later, the stream has dried up, women walk long distances for water, which is not always clean, and children will never know what they have lost. The challenge is to restore the home of the tadpoles and give back to our children a world of beauty and wonder.“
Nobel lecture http://nobelprize.org/peace/laureates/2004/maathai-lecture.html (10 December 2004)
„A tree has roots in the soil yet reaches to the sky. It tells us that in order to aspire we need to be grounded and that no matter how high we go it is from our roots that we draw sustenance. It is a reminder to all of us who have had success that we cannot forget where we came from. It signifies that no matter how powerful we become in government or how many awards we receive, our power and strength and our ability to reach our goals depend on the people, those whose work remain unseen, who are the soil out of which we grow, the shoulders on which we stand“
„I’m very conscious of the fact that you can’t do it alone. It’s teamwork. When you do it alone you run the risk that when you are no longer there nobody else will do it.“
Source: The Green Belt Movement: Sharing the Approach and the Experience