I attended the UK Premiere of ‘Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai’ from the Green Belt Movement. Taking Root tells the dramatic story of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai whose simple act of planting trees grew into a nationwide movement to safeguard the environment, protect human rights, and defend democracy.
The Green Belt Movement (GBM) was founded in 1977 by Wangari Maathai (Nobel Laureate 2004). Green Belt Movement’s approach is based on the premise that truly sustainable development can only take place through recognizing the link between the environment, democracy, and peace.
Through its holistic approach to development, Green Belt Movement addresses the underlying causes of poverty and environmental degradation at the grassroots level. Green Belt Movement programmes use a ten-step development model that mobilizes communities to take action in their local environments. As a result over 40 million trees have been planted and hundreds of thousands of women in rural Kenya have lifted their families out of poverty.
I recommend seeing the film as it is a true inspiration to all environmental campaigners. I believe it’s available on DVD at takingrootfilm.com/purchase.htm.
The Green Awards Best Green Campaigner category is for those sorts of individuals. See http://www.greenawards.co.uk/categories_x_16/categories_x_16/best_green_campaigner_award. We’re looking for any campaigner who has set a goal or campaign target, has set about achieving it and can explain what they were able to achieve against the odds.
Campaigns can be as local as your street, school, college or company or may involve a town, city, borough or even a national campaign.
The Campaigner of the Year will be the individual who is judged to have been most creative in getting results for their chosen issue, regardless of the size of the campaign or the budget.
Wangari Maathai became the first environmentalist and the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She overcame unimaginable obstacles that most of us never experience in daily life and yet still maintained a vision and reached into the consciousness of ordinary people to empower themselves to protect the environment and in doing so alleviate poverty. I think one thing I took from last night was the thought that no matter how big the problem is we face we can all make a difference and we should never just sit back through apathy when we hear of environmental degradation happening in other parts of the world such as the destruction of the forests. Because ultimately the planet will survive but the human race might not be quick enough to adapt to the changes that lay ahead because of the effects of global warming and climate change. We need to be focussed on our own survival and we need inspirational leaders to engage the mass consciousness. According to Wangari Maathai’s acceptance speech held in Oslo on 10th December 2004, ”In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other.”
To enter the Best Green Campaigner Category visit:http://www.greenawards.co.uk/categories_x_16/categories_x_16/best_green_campaigner_award
For more information on the Green Belt Movement who is an Institutional partner for this year’s Green Awards visit: www.greenbeltmovement.org
Posted by Iain Patton