Saturday, March 28, 2009

‘The Tree Lady’ honors Green Belt Movement…

This brief documentary about Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement was created by Will Levitt. It was the first place student winner in the My Hero film festival and was part of the National History Day competition in Washington.

“Though Wangari's message has been shared in many ways, most notably with her 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, I thought that it was important that I try and share her message in my own way. Through her work, Wangari is a hero to so many. She has stood up for countless issues: the environment, women's rights, just government, sustainable economies, international cooperation,” wrote Will on the My Hero website.

The 10 minute film describes the founding of the Green Belt Movement, when Wangari organized women to plant trees with the goal of improving their lives. She started by planting seven trees in her own backyard on World Environmental Day in 1977 and the project quickly expanded. Today, over 30 million trees have been planted with the Green Belt Movement and it has spread to 30 countries.

Will recounted meeting Wangari in 2006, when she was the guest of Boston's Urban Forest Coalition and also the subject of an article by the Armenia Tree Project leadership in the Boston Globe. “To meet her in person further displayed to me the importance of her work, but also made me grateful all the more for her work that has inspired so many,” Will noted.

Other Earthkeeper Heroes highlighted on the My Hero website include Alexandra Cousteau for her work to protect the world’s oceans, E.O. Wilson for his studies on human impacts on the planet, and Laurie David for her commitment to curb climate change.