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By Savvy Insider

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Life often is tough and uncompromising.

And when you least expect it, serendipity comes calling.

Take the case of Wangari Maathai, the founder of the Green Belt Movement (GBM) in Kenya, Africa and a GreenHero.

The movement started off by paying groups of women in Kenya to plant trees. Recognizing that women in her community didn’t have firewood, water or a voice to take action, she founded the GBM, building on the idea that a single grassroots action can have widespread global effects.

It was those tree-planting efforts that started the United Nations One Billion Trees Campaign all over the world.

A lofty, noble and hard to achieve objective, to be sure.

Just when Maathai thought no one was listening to the message of her organization, her phone rang.

It was that call that gave credence to her efforts – she was the first ever environmentalist to be awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.

The simple act of planting a tree, and recognition of the linkage between environment, democracy, and peace, soon spread like wildfire across the globe, empowering other communities to protect their local environments and speak up for change.

Now, she’s devoted to bringing environmental issues to the world’s attention. She’ll be in Mexico this November for the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Stay tuned for more on Wangari’s work, and start Talking Climate Change. In the fight for environmental protection, we can’t sit idly. Raise your voice!

You can catch Wangari on TVO Tuesday, November 23rd at 7 pm ET as well as Saturday, November 27th at 4 pm ET, read more about Episode 4 here.

“It is the people who must save the environment. It is the people who must make their leaders change. And we cannot be intimidated. So we must stand up for what we believe in.”

– Wangari Maathai

Article orignally published in the Savvy Insider on Friday, Nov. 19, 2010

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