GBM Blog

Wangari Maathai at 76 Celebration

April 1, 2016 - 12:05PM
Published by Communications

This morning, the Green Belt Movement (GBM) was joined by partners and friends in a tree-planting celebration of our Founder’s 76th birthday at the Wangari Maathai corner in Karura Forest.

76 trees were planted at this ceremony; one for each year Wangari would have been with us had she not so lamentably departed.

Our global appeal is that we all personally and collectively start the month of April 2016 by planting at least one tree on April 1 and then go an extra mile throughout this April, Wangari’s birthday month, to each plant a total of 76 trees.

Around the world, the day was also marked in special ways. Away on official duty in California USA, our Board Chair, Wanjira Mathai, planted a tree as well to mark this special day. Cassie Pataky, who was the first employee of the GBM International - US office, paid tribute to Professor Maathai by having her wedding today and requested all those in attendance to support the work and legacy of Professor Maathai.

Wangari Maathai passionately believed that we could all be part of a Green Conservation Culture that sought to perpetually replenish and renew our forests. This is why one of her legacies to Kenya, articulated under Article 69(1)(b) of the Constitution of Kenya, was to ensure that the State shall “work to achieve and maintain a tree cover of at least ten per cent of the land area of Kenya,” In this respect, we invite all to partner with us to ensure that the ten percent threshold is reached and surpassed in the minimum time possible.

April 1, 2016 will, hence, also mark the birth and launch of the Green Conservation campaign whose ambition will be to raise tree cover to at least 10% of the country’s land area. In Kenya the fact that only 6.988% of the land area is under forest cover demonstrates the size of the task ahead. While this launch will physically happen at the Wangari Maathai corner at Karura Forest, it is expected that the world will be sparked and catalyzed to an effort to conserve, renew and replenish forests.

The launch of the Green Conservation campaign on April 1, 2016 should see the start and renewal of the commitment to hand over to our children and their children a greener, cleaner and environmentally sustainable earth.