The environmentalist and anti-globalization activist was known as the "Mother of the trees". On September 25th 2011, Wangari Matu Maathai died after a prolonged struggle with cancer. She was 71. Her departure is a great loss to mankind as the impressive list of her achievements and commitment for a more peaceful world and a clean environment shows.
In 2002 she was appointed Assistant Minister on Environmental Issues making her Africa’s first green politician in office. 2004 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize amongst others for her commitment with the Green Belt Movement that she initiated in 1977 and that helped poor African women to plant 30 million trees. In her Nobel lecture she said: "The tree became a symbol for the democratic struggle in Kenya. Citizens were mobilised to challenge widespread abuses of power, corruption and environmental mismanagement."
Rapunzel awarded her the "One World "VIP"-Award" last year. Wangari Matu Maathai received this award for her extraordinary work and the global effects resulting from this work. At the IFOAM Conference in Nairobi on "Ecological Organic Agriculture” that will take place from November 15 – 16th, 2011 the One World Award statue was to be personally handed over to Wangari Maathai. Now, her daughter will accept the prize in her place. The One World Award jury substantiated its decision with the following words: "She motivates all of us to contribute our share to our common goal: to make this world a better place!” In the coming decade Wangari Matu Maathai had planned to plant a billion trees in Africa.
"We are very sad about the death of the "Mother of the Trees", but we promise that Wangari Matu Maathai will live on in our memories", says Joseph Wilhelm, initiator of the "One World Award" and founder of Rapunzel. "Because she is and will continue to be a role model for the realization that it takes numerous small steps to change this world and make it a better place.”