Women’s rights and environmental activist Dr. Wangari Maathai passed away Sunday in a Nairobi hospital after her fight with cancer. Maathai blazed trails within African communities by improving the lives of women, and worked to establish sustainable relationships between the people and the land. She strongly believed that preserving the environment would also help benefit the economically depressed areas.
One of her most well known initiatives was the Green Belt Movement in 1977 in which she succeeded in planting over 45 million trees around Kenya. Maathai worked to improve the lives of African women by increasing their access to resources needed for daily chores, such as firewood and water. In 2004 Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace prize for her efforts and was the first African-American woman to ever win this prize.
Maathai advocated for sustainability, equity, and justice and her efforts will forever live on.