Celebrating Professor Maathai's green legacy
Since 2012, the Africa Environment Day has been celebrated in conjunction with Wangari Maathai Day, in order to pay tribute to the late Nobel Laureate's green legacy. As part of Africa Environment Day, it is used as an opportunity to highlight the emerging environmental challenges in the continent.
This year's celebration was held at Freedom Corner, Uhuru Park, a place that symbolizes all Professor Maathai stood for.
Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko, in a statement delivered by the Chief Conservator of Forests Julius Kamau, reiterated the government's commitment to working closely with the Green Belt Movement – a brainchild of Maathai. “The ministry has enhanced the space for the NGOs and civil society organisations to partner and collaborate with the government and complement each others' efforts.” The CS said the Ministry was aware of the role played by the Green Belt Movement and the civil society in the conservation of the environment, forests and other natural resources.
The Green Belt Movement chairperson Marion Kamau urged stakeholders to emulate Professor Maathai's efforts and fight against the prevailing environmental challenges. “Prof Wangari's lessons have never been timelier as our beloved nation and the world at large face the myriad challenges that threaten planetary peace and sound environment management,” Kamau said. She further urged stakeholders to step up efforts to avert natural disasters ahead of the long rains season. “Our clarion call is for tree planting en masse and protection of other water sources during the upcoming long rains. We are planning to plant over 1.8 million trees during this long rains season.”
Organisations represented at today's event included the Kenya Defence Forces, Wangari Maathai Institute, Kenya Forest Service, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce, the European Union and the University of Nairobi, among others.
The African Union is hosting the regional event in Freetown, Sierra Leone, under the theme: “Our Resources, Our Future”. The event is aimed at raising awareness on the pressing environmental challenges facing the world, including deforestation, climate change, pollution, etc. The celebration of this day also draws attention to the enormous opportunities that Africa has in the sustainable management of our natural resources.
View more photos of the event here.