Sustainable development and growth should be part and parcel of every society. While most societies have ignored this critical aspect of life, now more than ever before they must be willing to sacrifice their time and resources in the conservation of the environment. In fact, the environment is such a key component to a society’s welfare that its collapse may mean the end of the society (Wright 22-28). As Mathaai notes in her memoir, Unbowed, the degradation of Kenya’s environment, especially in Central province resulted in increased malnutrition, loss of incomes, and an increase in poverty among the locals (Mathaai 122-124). It was only through her selfless efforts and like-minded individuals that the Green Belt Movement was established, which facilitated the planting of trees and in the improvement in the quality of life of the locals.
Acts of compassion and selflessness were shown by Mathaai’s decision to help in environmental conservation despite the fact that she enjoyed a high-quality life when working as a university professor. Specifically, she was alarmed by the extent to which her rural environment had been destroyed by deforestation. Deforestation had led to the occurrence of soil erosion, malnutrition, reduction of essential resources such as firewood and wood for local use in fencing, and reduction in incomes. As a result, the quality of life of individuals was worse than before the deforestation activity.
Some of the specific activities that she performed include the forming of the Green Belt Movement, which she acted as a coordinator. In this position, she provided the necessary leadership and focus that was needed in the planting of trees. She was an active participant in the planting of trees by creating a network that enabled her members to access seedlings from the government. Finally, she motivated and encouraged women to learn on how to plant trees and seedlings even if they did not have a diploma in forestry. As a result, she was able to create a sustainable source of seedlings for her members. On overall, the Green Belt Movement was essential in the creation of a sustainable environment for future generations.
Did Maathai’s Green Belt Movement manage in restoring the environment that had been destroyed through deforestation?
Maathai, W. Unbowed: Alfred A. Knopf. New York, NY: Anchor Publishers. (2006). Print.
Wright, R., and Boorse, D. Environmental Science: Toward a Sustainable Future (12th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Perarson. (2013). Print.