Key players play a role in promoting healthier lives through the discoveries of how the environment affects people. Human and environmental research application should be championed in the development of building new standards for the betterment and conservation of the environment. There has been a global recognition for outstanding facts from both public and the private sector including the civil societies who have had a substantial and positive impact on the environment through their actions. Indigenous activists have been murdered for conserving the environment not forgetting the organizer of the biggest clean-up of a beach in the world.
An award is always given in recognition of bold visionaries who put in measures to confront the challenges of this generation which include changes in climate, depletion of natural resources and marine litter.The United Nations Environmental Programme established the champions of the earth award in recognition of leaders that have had outstanding performance in the environment in policy implementation.
Prof. Wangari Maathai started with a small tree nursery in her backyard and later launched the Green Belt Movement in Kenya. This was a tree planting organization in the grassroots that primarily comprised of women. Their primary activity was to curtail the effects of desertification and deforestation that were devastating to the social environment. She did not begin her efforts only to reduce the effects of soil erosion but also to assist the burgeoning population achieves self-sustenance in the use of wood fuel. Her efforts have led to the development of over 6000 tree nurseries throughout Kenya with more than 30 million trees planted. The Green Belt Movement offers training to potential members through seminars with an expansion beyond Africa.
Prof. Wangari Maathai led a courageous fight refuting the construction of a skyscraper scheduled to be constructed at Uhuru Park, a common ground and the largest public space in Nairobi, in late 1984. Her vocal opposition regarding the construction and location of the proposed project led to the Green Belt Movement and Wangari Maathai declared subversive by the president. She was vilified both by the press and in parliament and was to vacate her office within 10 hours. With this, investors from foreign nations withdrew their support for the project which later collapsed due to the cancellation of the project.Prof. Maathai evolved from the most dissident and visible political leader in Kenya to a leading environmentalist in Africa. Her readiness to speak out on critical social matters has provoked the police to break into her home on various occasions and place her under arrest. She has been discouraged from engaging in political activity, and worse clubbed to unconsciousness.
Always a pioneer, she continued pledging her support for the conservation of the environment through the planting of trees. In her mission, Maathai believed that poverty could only find its solution through the protection of the environment. These efforts earned her many awards globally winning the most admirable Nobel peace prize in 2004, becoming the first African woman and environmentalist to win such a trophy. Memorable is her quote: "prosperity depends just as much on caring for a fragile planet as on dousing human conflict."
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