Wangari Maathai was a Kenyan environmental and political activist. She was the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace. Maathai was a vocal advocate for environmental conservation and women's rights, and was the founder of the Green Belt Movement.
What is the most famous quote by Wangari Maathai ?
You can make a lot of speeches, but the real thing is when you dig a hole, plant a tree, give it water, and make it survive. That's what makes the difference— Wangari Maathai
What can you learn from Wangari Maathai (Life Lessons)
- Wangari Maathai's work demonstrates the power of individuals to make a difference in their communities. She showed that through her environmental activism and her work to empower women in her native Kenya.
- Her legacy is a reminder that we all have the potential to create positive change, even when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
- Her example is a reminder to us all that we can make a difference in the world, if we are willing to take action and fight for what we believe in.
The most attractive Wangari Maathai quotes that are free to learn and impress others
Following is a list of the best Wangari Maathai quotes, including various Wangari Maathai inspirational quotes, and other famous sayings by Wangari Maathai.
You cannot protect the environment unless you empower people, you inform them, and you help them understand that these resources are their own, that they must protect them.
When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and seeds of hope.
Its the little things citizens do. Thats what will make the difference.
Every person who has ever achieved anything has been knocked down many times.
But all of them picked themselves up and kept going, and that is what I have always tried to do.
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.
We cannot tire or give up. We owe it to the present and future generations of all species to rise up and walk!
We’re constantly being bombarded by problems that we face and sometimes we can get completely overwhelmed. [But] we should always feel like a hummingbird. I may feel insignificant, but I don’t want to be like the other animals watching the planet go down the drain. I’ll be a hummingbird, I’ll do the best I can.
There are opportunities even in the most difficult moments.
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.
Environmental quotes by Wangari Maathai
Sometimes we become bound by other people's thoughts because we are not sure about ourselves.
We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own - indeed, to embrace the whole creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder. This will happen if we see the need to revive our sense of belonging to a larger family of life, with which we have shared our evolutionary process.
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.
Those of us who have been privileged to receive education, skills, and experiences and even power must be role models for the next generation of leadership.
It is important to nurture any new ideas and initiatives which can make a difference for Africa.
Anybody can dig a hole and plant a tree.
But make sure it survives. You have to nurture it, you have to water it, you have to keep at it until it becomes rooted so it can take care or itself. There are so many enemies of trees.
I am working to make sure we don't only protect the environment, we also improve governance.
The living conditions of the poor must be improved if we really want to save our environment
Quotations by Wangari Maathai that are equality and empowerment
Those of us who witness the degraded state of the environment and the suffering that comes with it cannot afford to be complacent. We continue to be restless. If we really carry the burden, we are driven to action. We cannot tire or give up. We owe it to the present and future generations of all species to rise up and walk!
Education is a very empowering experience, so many people who went to school also managed to improve their quality of life much faster because they could get a job, they could get money. Once people see that you improve your life if you are educated, then education becomes a valuable tool and people want it.
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.
If you make mistakes that is alright because we all make mistakes and we learn from those mistakes. You gain confidence from learning, failing and rising again.
Disempowerment - whether defined in terms of a lack of self-confidence , apathy, fear, or an inability to take charge of one's own life - is perhaps the most unrecognised problem in Africa today.
Women are responsible for their children, they cannot sit back, waste time and see them starve.
The little grassroots people can change this world.
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.
For us who are now in power, we need to be challenged to serve the people and ignore our own egos and personal interests so that we can really demonstrate to other African states that it is possible to share power without going to war.
Because I was a woman, I was vulnerable.
It was easy to vilify me and project me as a woman who was not following the tradition of a 'good African woman.'
Tradition sometimes excludes the girl child from inheriting;
or single women may not want to be perceived as pursuing too much property. The law has come a long way in favor of the woman, but it is the tradition, the attitudes, that we often have to fight.
It gradually became clear that the Green Belt Movement's work with communities to repair the degraded environment could not be done effectively without participants embracing a set of core spiritual values.
That's the way I do things when I want to celebrate, I always plant a tree.
We can work together for a better world with men and women of goodwill, those who radiate the intrinsic goodness of humankind.
The issue of carbon is one area where we really need to work together and if people don't have the technology they need, that technology needs to be made available and affordable.
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.
The people are learning that you cannot leave decisions only to leaders.
Local groups have to create the political will for change, rather than waiting for others to do things for them. That is where positive, and sustainable, change begins.
We have a responsibility to protect the rights of generations, of all species, that cannot speak for themselves today. The global challenge of climate change requires that we ask no less of our leaders, or ourselves.
The essential role of the environment is still marginal in discussions about poverty. While we continue to debate these initiatives, environmental degradation, including the loss of biodiversity and topsoil, accelerates, causing development efforts to falter.
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.
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.
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.
There are certain areas where foreign investors can help the local people to generate wealth, and improve their quality of life. Some companies, for example, Del Monte, which produces pineapples in Kenya, pay a huge amount of taxes, I am sure, to the Kenyan government, and they do create jobs for thousands of locals.
It is wonderful when you don't have the fear, and a lot of the time I don't ... I focus on what needs to be done instead.
It was easy for me to be ridiculed and for both men and women to perceive that maybe I'm a bit crazy because I'm educated in the West and I have lost some of my basic decency as an African woman.
We think that diamonds are very important, gold is very important, all these minerals are very important. We call them precious minerals, but they are all forms of the soil. But that part of this mineral that is on top, like it is the skin of the earth, that is the most precious of the commons.
Resources on the planet are limited, and limited resources can come to an end. But there are also a lot of resources that are renewable. A lot of land, for example, can be reclaimed from the encroaching deserts.
Nobody in the world is completely dependent on another person, but we are all interdependent.
So GMOs, who knows? Maybe GMOs will come, they will get maize that produces double. But who knows what else may happen to the maize?
Why has there been so much secrecy about AIDS? When you ask where did the virus come from, it raises a lot of flags. That makes me suspicious.
We do the right thing not to please people but because it's the only logically reasonable thing to do, as long as we are being honest with ourselves - even if we are the only ones.
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.
The developed world should be willing to help [Africa] and support her and make this energy affordable.