Once upon a time, Wangari Maathai saved Planet Earth.
When people say they want to “diversify” the environmental movement, I cough on the arrogance. Black women, indigenous women, and women of color around the globe are saving the planet. Like, right now. Like this actual second. Planting, cultivating, harvesting, carrying, selling, cooking, composting, turning over soil, and doing it again. And no disrespect to the card-carrying climate change activists – the Paris Agreement is essential – but please understand that while you are carrying protest signs, millions of African women are carrying seeds and meticulously tied bundles of the harvest to markets (with no carbon footprint) where they will sell locally. Those same women will cook into the night, and compost what’s left, to grow what is needed the next day to save their nations.
Today’s walk is dedicated to the legacy of Wangari Maathai for organizing women to plant 50 MILLION TREES to save Kenya from the brink of environmental devastation. Her “Green Belt Movement” changed the very air, the earth, and the water of the continent of Africa forever. We are proud of that. But we are prouder of how she did it. How she showed up in the quiet moments when no one was watching. How she survived the Mau Mau Uprising. How she protested to free political prisoners. How she summoned the courage to stand in the front of bulldozers and speak on camera with a bloodied face. Oh, and she won the Nobel Peace Prize.
But I guess she should’ve been at the climate march.
Join today’s conversation so that I can fix my attitude. Let’s breathe some fresh air, sing at the top of our lungs, and rally ourselves to all be a little more like Wangari.
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Disclaimer: We do not own the rights to the music and speech excerpt played during this broadcast. Original content can be found here:
Queen Latifah – U.N.I.T.Y.:
Taking Root The Vision of Wangari Maathai: