Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wangari Maathai remembered in Armenia…

This fir tree at the Armenia Tree Project nursery in Karin Village is dedicated to the memory of Wangari Maathai. Dr. Maathai was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for empowering rural women to plant millions of trees with the Green Belt Movement. Today is the second anniversary of her passing...her vision and perseverance continues to be a great source of inspiration worldwide.

Wangari Maathai was an inspiration for ATP in 2003-2004 when the team in the field designed the backyard nursery micro-enterprise program for impoverished rural families to grow tree seedlings in Aygut. She was one of the leading voices raising awareness about the strong link between poverty and deforestation.

ATP made job creation and rural empowerment a strong element of that program, which was selected for a National Energy Globe Award for Sustainability at the European Parliament in 2008.

ATP founder Carolyn Mugar and director Jeff Masarjian published an op ed, The Planting of Ideas, in the Boston Globe on the occasion of Dr. Maathai's visit to Boston in 2006. The three had a chance to meet at a reception hosted by Boston’s Urban Forest Coalition, before her speech at First Church in Cambridge.

ATP was also one of the very first international organizations to make a pledge to plant trees as part of the Billion Tree Campaign initiated by Dr. Maathai and the United Nations Environment Program in 2006.

What's all the fuss about? I hope you can take some time to watch Wangari Maathai's lecture from Concordia University (her remarks start at 18:30). She is truly a bold leader and advocate for social justice and sustainable development at the grassroots level.