Wangari Maathai

Not everyone was happy when Wangari Maathai won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize. Maathai, who died Sept. 25 at 71, was the first African woman to win a Nobel, chiefly for her work creating the Green Belt Movement--a grassroots effort to encourage rural women in Kenya to plant trees and help reverse a catastrophic trend of deforestation. Critics who wondered why the prize was bestowed on a mere environmentalist misunderstood what Maathai was doing. She didn't stop with tree planting. The Green Belt Movement inspired Kenyan women to stand up for themselves and see the forests as something they had a...

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