“When you go beyond yourself, that is when you become truly human.” — Wangari Maathai
Dr. Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, was the 2006 Water’s Edge speaker on October 19, 2006 at Longwood Gardens. Maathai, a leading international advocate for environmental protection and women’s rights, was recognized with the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for founding the Green Belt Movement (GBM) to promote environmental responsibility as a way to alleviate poverty and war.
As part of this effort, the GBM has been responsible for planting 30 million trees across Africa over the last 35 years. To commemorate Maathai’s visit, a tree was planted at Longwood Gardens that honors the efforts of local Girl Scouts who planted thousands of trees the month before through the “Trees for the 21st Century” program, a partnership between four organizations — the Stroud Center, the Future of Life, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake and Hemlock Councils.
Wangari shared her belief to the 450 participants that if we each of us would focus on the little things we can do — what she calls the “do-ables” — then we can each help in the causes of civil, democratic, human and environmental rights.
(Excerpt from 2005-2006 Stroud Center Years in Review)