Wangari Maathai

(Wangarĩ Muta Maathai)

Wangari Maathai
Wangari Maathai
  • Born: April 1, 1940
  • Died: September 25, 2011
  • Nationality: Kenyan
  • Profession: Environmentalist, Political Activist, Writer

33

Quotes

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Citations

24

Concepts

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Videos

Quotes
Quote Topics Cited
Corruption is a very lucrative business. Corruption
In many developing countries environmental problems are relegated to the periphery because they do not appear to be as urgent as other issues … We cannot survive without clean drinking water, food and pure air. Environmental concerns are not a luxury in Africa. Environment & Environmentalism
It's one thing to plant a tree, it's another to make it survive. If you know you are not going to take care of that tree, don't bother Environment & Environmentalism
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. Foreign Aid
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. Women
All of us have a God in us, and that God is the spirit that unites all life, everything that is on this planet. Life ;Religion & God
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.
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.
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.
I am working to make sure we don't only protect the environment, we also improve governance.
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. Religion & God
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.
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. War & Peace
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. Environment & Environmentalism ;War & Peace
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. Women ;Environment & Environmentalism ;Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
It is important to nurture any new ideas and initiatives which can make a difference for Africa.
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. Women
It would be good for us Africans to accept ourselves as we are and recapture some of the positive aspects of our culture.
It's a matter of life and death for this country. The Kenyan forests are facing extinction and it is a man-made problem. Life ;Death
It's the little things citizens do. That's what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees.
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. Time ;Religion & God
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'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.
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.
We are very fond of blaming the poor for destroying the environment. But often it is the powerful, including governments, that are responsible.
We need to promote development that does not destroy our environment.
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.
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. Women
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. War & Peace
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.
Women are responsible for their children, they cannot sit back, waste time and see them starve. Time ;Women
You can educate people on how to preempt their own conflict.
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. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training