Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai Dead at 71

wangari maathai photo

photo: Ricardo Medina/The Green Belt Movement

Wangari Maathai has died while undergoing treatment for cancer. The Green Belt Movement, the non-profit organization she started, says in a press release:

Professor Maathai's departure is untimely and a very great loss to all who knew her - as a mother, relative, co-worker, colleague, role model, and heroine; or who admired her determination to make the world a more peaceful, healthier, and better place."

More from the press release:

Prof. Wangari Muta Maathai started the Green Belt Movement in 1977, working with women to improve their livelihoods by increasing their access to resources like firewood for cooking and clean water. She became a great advocate for better management of natural resources and for sustainability, equity, and justice. A synopsis of her life and work can be read here

Prof. Maathai was born in Nyeri, Kenya (Africa) in 1940, and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her work with the Green Belt Movement, using tree planting as an entry point- for self-determination, equity, improved livelihoods and security, and environmental conservation.. She touched thousands, if not millions of lives, with her work to promote democracy, human rights, and environmental conservation.

TreeHugger had the pleasure of interviewing Prof. Maathai in 2008, for our podcast. Listen to Part One and Part Two to hear her talk about her life and work in her own words.

Read more about Wangari Maathai
Wangari Maathai "Unbowed" and Unbroken
Protecting the Environment Will Combat Poverty: Wangari Maathai
Quote of the Day: Wangari Maathai Speaks for the Trees