Women Who Inspire IRIE: Wangari Maathai

Heroes, Leaders, Advocates. Environmentalists, Artists, Athletes.  In celebration of Women’s History Month, Join IrieCBD and celebrate all that women can be, do and inspire. This is what Living Life Irie looks like, the woman’s way.

At IrieCBD, Irie is more than our name. It’s our way of life. Our way of doing business. We bring the peace, acceptance, connection and care of the Irie brand to everything we do. It’s what we hope our products bring to you.

This month, we’re putting women and health front and center, and IrieJOURNAL puts the spotlight on inspiring women that embody IRIE’s commitment to healthier selves living in a healthier world.

These are women who have gone above and beyond. Women who have paved paths we all tread, who have pulled on inner strength to enact astounding external changes. Women who remind us what we are all capable of, who have rocked industries, governments, concert halls.

Pushing through distinct and difficult struggles, these are women that have opened doorways for us all into new ways of being, of living in tune with ourselves, those around us, and our planet. They deserve our admiration and our appreciation. They remind us to reconnect to our passion and our awareness. They exemplify the personal, social and environmental consciousness that is Living Life Irie.

 

Meet Wangari Maathai

Nobel Laureate, Environmentalist, Activist, Tree Planter.

She empowered one of history’s most successful grassroots environmental campaigns… led entirely by women. 

Wangari Maathai was a trailblazer.

She was the first woman in central or eastern Africa to earn a doctorate degree. She was the first woman to hold the position of department head of a major university in that same region when she became chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy in 1976. One year later, she became the region’s first female associate professor.

Wangari Maathai was a founder.

While serving on The National Council of Women, she connected with local women in towns and villages throughout Kenya- and heard a repeating theme: women were running out of firewood, their topsoil was destroyed and their crops failing.  Seeing a simple and beautiful solution, she organized women across the country and started an environmental revolution. Like most great successes, it started with a simple idea: Plant Trees. Community nurseries were founded and satellite organizations spread, creating a network of woman-led, woman supported grassroots environmental activists. The Green Belt Movement today has planted over 15 million trees, produced income for eighty thousand people in Kenya alone and continues its focus of poverty reduction and environmental protection through the empowerment of women’s community groups and planting campaigns.

Wangari Maathai was a revolutionary.

She spoke on behalf of women at special sessions of the UN General Assembly during the five-year review of the Earth Summit. She served on the UN Commission for Global Governance and the Commission on the Future.  She was arrested and jailed for her protests on behalf of both human rights and the environment. She never stopped fighting. She advocated for the self-empowerment of thousands of women. She believed that by taking charge of their own destinies, organizing, working together, and standing up for the protection of their environment, women could change the world.

She was proven right.

Wangari Maathai is an inspiration.

In 2004, she became the first African woman- and the first environmentalist- to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Today, The Green Belt Movement operates in over thirty African Countries, the United States, and Haiti.

In recognition of her deep commitment to the environment, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General named Professor Maathai a UN Messenger of Peace in December 2009, with a focus on the environment and climate change.

“We cannot tire or give up. We owe it to the present and future generations of all species to rise up and walk!” – Wangari Maathai

Today we honor her as a guardian of the earth and women’s rights. Now THAT’s Irie.

Play the clip Planting Hope below to hear her talk about the founding of the Green Belt Movement, and the continuing journey of fighting for environmental protection.