Credo: Wangari Maathai
Founder of Green Belt Movement and Nobel Peace Prize winner, 69
Sunday 21 June 2009
When I started the Green Belt Movement [an NGO that combats deforestation by training rural Kenyan women to plant trees] in 1977, I was starting a small project. But it moved from one step to another. We've since planted more than 30 million trees [earning Maathai a Nobel Prize]. It's been very surprising.
It is in the interests of the developed world to help Africa adapt to climate change. People from poor regions are not going to sit there and die of starvation; there will be large migrations of people seeking a new life in the developed world.
Africa isn't just asking for help; she has something on the table, too, in the way of carbon management: the Congo forest is a huge carbon sink. But international companies are logging there, as the government needs the money. If it had another revenue source, this would stop.
You cannot get rid of poverty, improve quality of life and eliminate diseases without taking care of the environment, so you can have adequate food and clean drinking water.
Being a woman in Kenyan politics has meant I have not been able to do as much as I wanted. Men are quick to tell the voters you can't do as much as they can.
Serving others is the greatest thing one can do with one's life. I have been able to make a difference in people's lives. Even to plant a tree that will be growing long after you are gone is very satisfying.
I'm an optimist. I'm always hopeful and working for change, and I'm sure sooner or later a new horizon will beckon.
It's important to forget everything for a moment. It's easy when busy to forget you have a body, not a machine, and it needs replenishment. Resting, going to the gym and basking in the sun are some of the moments when I can relax.
'The Challenge for Africa' by Wangari Maathai (Heinemann, £20) is out now
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Met Police confirm it was a 'minor disturbance' and no-one was arrested
Concerns raised phenomenon is threatening resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
Eccentric Fury star, 28, reveals he is 'not a really confident actor'
Peter Biaksangzuala died from his injuries in hospital on Sunday
The X Factor's judges colourful outfit was mocked by Simon Cowell
Footage shot by a passerby shows moment an ill man was carried out of his burning home
Heavy rain and winds from Hurricane Gonzalo aftermath to hit Britain next week
The last charge as western black rhino is declared extinct
Brazilian wandering spider: Where are they from and how deadly are they?
Cannibal harlequin ladybirds now threaten native species with STDs
A bug's life: know your ladybirds
- 1 Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
- 2 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Lynda Bellingham dead: Loose Women presenter dies after battle with colon cancer
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Sorry Judy Finnigan – Ched Evans is no less sickening than an alleyway rapist
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...
£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...
£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...