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The Greenbelt Movement James Price Grantham University GS104

2 The Greenbelt Movement The Greenbelt Movement The Greenbelt movement in Africa is led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai. The movement is concerned with providing an effort to improving the lives of the people in Africa and across the world. The Greenbelt movement takes a holistic approach to address poverty and environmental conservation. Among other things they create income opportunities for rural farmers to grow tree seedlings. The trees which were planted help to stop the erosion of the land. The people are then able to have clean water because the eroded soil is stopped from going into the Rivers. Water supplies have improved, making it possible to provide clean drinking water for thousands because the trees have stopped the erosion and soil from going into the rivers. In less than two decades of these saplings will be full grown trees this will contribute to the health of the ecosystem. It is very important to continue encouraging our governments and our selves that the environment is not really an issue for tomorrow the environment is an everyday issue its the air we breathe its the water we drink its the food we eat and we cant live without these things.(Maathai) As of 2010 more than 600 community groups cared for seed nurseries. In the Congo area alone over one million trees have been planted. Over 40 million trees have been planted on private farms and public lands sites of cultural significance. The biggest challenge is with governments. With government there is power, and with power there is control over resources. What the Greenbelt movement did is appeal to the grassroots level of people in an effort to create a desire for change within the people. Ms. Maathai describes it this way, The tree has a personality, and as it grows and changes the landscape it seems that changes the minds of the people. It encourages others to do more and before long other farmers want to participate. The greenbelt movement trains rural women to grow trees seedlings. Greenbelt then purchases the seedlings for

3 reforestation efforts. Ms. Maathai believes Poverty will cause environmental degradation, because a poor person will cut their last tree to cook what may be their last meal. The Greenbelt movement has worked toward educating the people and providing ways for them to have income opportunities through investments in things such as beehives and goats, which improve their quality of life. The Mottainai Campaign is another effort of the Greenbelt movement. The focus of the effort, is to reuse and recycle, in an attempt to remove manufactured plastic bags from the environment. The 1 billion tree campaign launched by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) is an attempt to raise awareness that the planet is being choked by greenhouse gases which is having an adverse impact on the environment. (Maathai) Trees trap carbon dioxide and release oxygen. The goal of greenbelt and UNEP is to plant one tree for every person on the planet. In 2009 UNEP has received reports of 7.3 billion trees planted in 167 countries worldwide. ( DocumentID=596&ArticleID=6319&l=en) Saving the environment is a big task. Through efforts such as those of Greenbelt and UNEP we can help save our world one tree at a time. .

4 References 1. Maathai, Wangari (2010). A Voice for Trees. v=GFvv9f9u-vY&feature=player_embedded 2. Maathai, Wangari (2010). Wangari Maathai and the Greenbelt Movement.! 3. Maathai, Wangari (2010). Wangari Maathai and the Billion Tree Campaign. 4. Maathai, Wangari (2010). Wangari Maathai talks about the Mottainai Campaign. 5. United Nations Environmental Program (2009). Press Release. DocumentID=596&ArticleID=6319&l=en