Honoring Wangari Maathai

In Kenya, church leaders pay tribute to Wangari Maathai, the first African woman Nobel Peace prize winner who died on September 25th:

KENYA: Church leaders pay tribute to Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai

By Fredrick Nzwili in Episcopal News Service

[Ecumenical News International, Nairobi, Kenya] Church leaders in Kenya paid tribute to Wangari Maathai, the first African woman Nobel Peace prize winner, who died on Sept. 25, as a person who cared for God’s creation through campaigning for environmental protection.

Maathai died at 71 in Nairobi Hospital. She had been battling cancer.

“She volunteered mentally and physically to save God’s creation through her conservation efforts. She gave many trees to our church to plant. When [we] see these trees growing well, we remember her,” the Rev. David Gathanju, moderator of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, told ENInews on Sept. 26.

“We are saddened by her death, but we celebrate because she left behind a legacy. She should be emulated by Kenyans and people all over the world,” Gathanju said.

Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her contributions to sustainable development, democracy and peace. She received the Right Livelihood Award in 1984, an international award that honors those “working on practical and exemplary solutions to the most urgent challenges facing the world today.”

Interviewed in the U.S. in 2008 on the American Public Media radio program “Speaking of Faith,” Maathai said that Christianity had not always been a good steward of the earth, that environmentalism was not seen as the purview of religion. However, she added, there has been “a good awakening.”

And, do take a few minutes to view this wonderful video of Maathai telling the story of a hummingbird:

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