26 Sep 2011:
Wangari Maathai, Nobel Laureate
And Environmental Activist, Is Dead at 71
Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan environmentalist whose advocacy for social justice and ecosystem
preservation in post-colonial Africa earned her the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, has died after a battle with cancer
. Maathai, 71, who during four decades skillfully articulated the benefits of environmental sustainability to ordinary citizens, was co-founder of the Green Belt Movement
, which helped Kenyan women plant trees on their farms, school properties, and church compounds as a means of preserving the environment, sustaining watersheds, and teaching new skills. Since 1977, the organization has planted an estimated 45 million trees across Kenya and has expanded to other African nations. Maathai spoke around the world about environmental justice and poverty, but remained focused on issues in Kenya, serving as a parliamentarian and assistant minister for several years. “Wangari Maathai was known to speak truth to power,” said John Githongo, an anti-corruption campaigner in Kenya. “She blazed a trail in whatever she did.”
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Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s coral reefs, which are largely intact thanks to stifled coastal development in the communist nation. View the gallery.
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The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
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A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.