Maathai was born in 1940 and died in 2011. She was the founder of the Green Belt Movement and the winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. She was an environmentalist and political activist in Kenya, who believed the environment was an issue of "now" and not "tomorrow." She was most interested in sustainability, peace and democracy. However she faced challenges of authority in government who control the resources. Yet, she established the Green Belt movement which took a step forward in addressing poverty and environmental conservation. Among other things, they create income opportunities for rural farmers to grow tree seedings. Groups of women also participate in the planting of trees. After planting over a million trees in one specific area, Kenyans were able to see their land restored slowly, but surely back to health. Before conservation, the land was very degraded. But after the trees were planted and grew, it helped immensely with the erosion problems and gave the community clean water.
Communities in Kenya are still using the methods they were taught from the Green Belt Movement. People living in poverty are more educated farming and sustainability which will then be passed on to the next generations. What Wangari did for her people was more than necessary and it has sparked a change in the way people live their lives.