Wangari Maathai Famous Quotes & Sayings

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100 Wangari Maathai Famous Sayings, Quotes and Quotation.

Wangari Maathai Sayings: You cannot enslave a mind that knows itself. That values itself. That understands itself. You cannot enslave a mind that knows itself. That values itself. That understands itself.
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Wangari Maathai Sayings: When resources are degraded, we start competing for them, whether it is at the local When resources are degraded, we start competing for them, whether it is at the local level in Kenya, where we had tribal clashes over land and water, or at the global level, where we are fighting over water, oil, and minerals. So one way to promote peace is to promote sustainable management and equitable distribution of resources.
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Wangari Maathai Sayings: You can make a lot of speeches, but the real thing is when you dig You can make a lot of speeches, but the real thing is when you dig a hole, plant a tree, give it water, and make it survive. That's what makes the difference
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Wangari Maathai Sayings: As I swept the last bit of dust, I made a covenant with myself: I As I swept the last bit of dust, I made a covenant with myself: I will accept. Whatever will be, will be. I have a life to lead. I recalled words a friend had told me, the philosophy of her faith. "Life is a journey and a struggle," she had said. "We cannot control it, but we can make the best of any situation." I was indeed in quite a situation. It was up to me to make the best of it.
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Wangari Maathai Sayings: People need open space. People need to bring their children into an area where they People need open space. People need to bring their children into an area where they can play without restriction." And I was told, "This is development." And I said, "That is not development, definitely not sustainable development, definitely not responsible development. People need fresh air. They can do without buildings. They can do without concrete. But they cannot do without fresh air.
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Wangari Maathai Sayings: Sometimes I feel frustration at the bureaucracy for not moving fast enough to deliver in Sometimes I feel frustration at the bureaucracy for not moving fast enough to deliver in the way that I would prefer. But that is probably because I have worked for many years in the civil society, which tends to move much faster than government.
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Wangari Maathai Sayings: Anybody can dig a hole and plant a tree. But make sure it survives. You Anybody can dig a hole and plant a tree. But make sure it survives. You have to nurture it, you have to water it, you have to keep at it until it becomes rooted so it can take care or itself. There are so many enemies of trees.
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Wangari Maathai Sayings: It is wonderful when you don't have the fear, and a lot of the time It is wonderful when you don't have the fear, and a lot of the time I don't ... I focus on what needs to be done instead.
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Wangari Maathai Sayings: Unfortunately, the issues of climate change, unlike many other issues, are very subtle because the Unfortunately, the issues of climate change, unlike many other issues, are very subtle because the changes we observe are very, very subtle.
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Wangari Maathai Sayings: I think what the Nobel committee is doing is going beyond war and looking at I think what the Nobel committee is doing is going beyond war and looking at what humanity can do to prevent war. Sustainable management of our natural resources will promote peace.
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Wangari Maathai Sayings: There's a general culture in this country to cut all the trees. It makes me There's a general culture in this country to cut all the trees. It makes me so angry because everyone is cutting and no one is planting.
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Wangari Maathai Sayings: In Kenya women are the first victims of environmental degradation, because they are the ones In Kenya women are the first victims of environmental degradation, because they are the ones who walk for hours looking for water, who fetch firewood, who provide food for their families.
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Wangari Maathai Sayings: We are very fond of blaming the poor for destroying the environment. But often it We are very fond of blaming the poor for destroying the environment. But often it is the powerful, including governments, that are responsible.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: You cannot protect the environment unless you empower people, you inform them, and you help You cannot protect the environment unless you empower people, you inform them, and you help them understand that these resources are their own, that they must protect them.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: And so I'm saying that, yes, colonialism was terrible, and I describe it as a And so I'm saying that, yes, colonialism was terrible, and I describe it as a legacy of wars, but we ought to be moving away from that by now.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: I would like to call on young people to commit themselves to activities that contribute I would like to call on young people to commit themselves to activities that contribute toward achieving their long-term dreams. They have the energy and creativity to shape a sustainable future. To the young people I say, you are a gift to your communities and indeed the world. You are our hope and our future.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: We all share one planet and are one hummanity, there is no escaping this reality. We all share one planet and are one hummanity, there is no escaping this reality.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: We can work together for a better world with men and women of goodwill, those We can work together for a better world with men and women of goodwill, those who radiate the intrinsic goodness of humankind. To do so effectively, the world needs a global ethic with values which give meaning to life experiences and, more than religious institutions and dogmas, sustain the non-material dimension of humanity. Mankind's universal values of love, compassion, solidarity, caring and tolerance should form the basis for this global ethic which should permeate culture, politics, trade, religion and philosophy. It should also permeate the extended family of the United Nations.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: We do the right thing not to please people but because it's the only logically We do the right thing not to please people but because it's the only logically reasonable thing to do, as long as we are being honest with ourselves - even if we are the only ones.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: It was easy for me to be ridiculed and for both men and women to It was easy for me to be ridiculed and for both men and women to perceive that maybe I'm a bit crazy because I'm educated in the West and I have lost some of my basic decency as an African woman.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: The little grassroots people can change this world. The little grassroots people can change this world.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: The essential role of the environment is still marginal in discussions about poverty. While we The essential role of the environment is still marginal in discussions about poverty. While we continue to debate these initiatives, environmental degradation, including the loss of biodiversity and topsoil, accelerates, causing development efforts to falter.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: There are opportunities even in the most difficult moments. There are opportunities even in the most difficult moments.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: It gradually became clear that the Green Belt Movement's work with communities to repair the It gradually became clear that the Green Belt Movement's work with communities to repair the degraded environment could not be done effectively without participants embracing a set of core spiritual values.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: Using trees as a symbol of peace is in keeping with a widespread African tradition. Using trees as a symbol of peace is in keeping with a widespread African tradition. For example, the elders of the Kikuyu carried a staff from the thigi tree that, when placed between two disputing sides, caused them to stop fighting and seek reconciliation. Many communities in Africa have these traditions.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: You cannot blame the mismanagement of the economy or the fact that we have not You cannot blame the mismanagement of the economy or the fact that we have not invested adequately in education in order to give our people the knowledge, the skills and the technology that they need in order to be able to use the resources that Africa has to gain wealth.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: Resources on the planet are limited, and limited resources can come to an end. But Resources on the planet are limited, and limited resources can come to an end. But there are also a lot of resources that are renewable. A lot of land, for example, can be reclaimed from the encroaching deserts.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: As long as there is no trust and confidence that there will be justice and As long as there is no trust and confidence that there will be justice and fairness in resource distribution, political positioning will remain more important than service
Wangari Maathai Sayings: All through the ages the African people have made efforts to deliver themselves from oppressive All through the ages the African people have made efforts to deliver themselves from oppressive forces.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: When these resources are degraded or polluted, then there are fewer of them for the When these resources are degraded or polluted, then there are fewer of them for the rest of us, and then we start competing for them and eventually as we compete, there are those of us, who have the capacity, who have the ability to be the controllers, to decide who accesses them, how much they access, and eventually there is a conflict. Those who feel marginalized, those who feel excluded, eventually react in an effort to get their own justice, and we have conflict.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: I don't really know why I care so much. I just have something inside me I don't really know why I care so much. I just have something inside me that tells me that there is a problem, and I have got to do something about it. I think that is what I would call the God in me.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: We owe it to ourselves and to the next generation to conserve the environment so We owe it to ourselves and to the next generation to conserve the environment so that we can bequeath our children a sustainable world that benefits all.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: We think that diamonds are very important, gold is very important, all these minerals are We think that diamonds are very important, gold is very important, all these minerals are very important. We call them precious minerals, but they are all forms of the soil. But that part of this mineral that is on top, like it is the skin of the earth, that is the most precious of the commons.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: If you make mistakes that is alright because we all make mistakes and we learn If you make mistakes that is alright because we all make mistakes and we learn from those mistakes. You gain confidence from learning, failing and rising again.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: African women in general need to know that it's OK for them to be the African women in general need to know that it's OK for them to be the way they are - to see the way they are as a strength, and to be liberated from fear and from silence.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: You can educate people on how to preempt their own conflict. You can educate people on how to preempt their own conflict.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: I knew that I was not doing anything wrong, and I knew in my mind I knew that I was not doing anything wrong, and I knew in my mind I was doing the right thing. I knew that the people who were going against me were not going against me for a good purpose. I knew that they were trying to justify their corruption and misgovernance.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it survive, you haven't done a thing. You are just talking.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: We can love ourselves by loving the earth. We can love ourselves by loving the earth.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: Education, if it means anything, should not take people away from the land, but instill Education, if it means anything, should not take people away from the land, but instill in them even more respect for it, because educated people are in a position to understand what is being lost. The future of the planet concerns all of us, and all of us should do what we can to protect it. As I told the foresters, and the women, you don't need a diploma to plant a tree.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other. That time is now.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: Human rights are not things that are put on the table for people to enjoy. Human rights are not things that are put on the table for people to enjoy. These are things you fight for and then you protect.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: The way in which we can promote peace, is by promoting sustainable management of our The way in which we can promote peace, is by promoting sustainable management of our resources, equitable distribution of these resources, and that the only way you can actually do that, is that then you have to have a political, economic system that facilitates that. And then you get into the issues of human rights, justice, economic justice, social justice, and good governance or democratic governance. That's how it ties up.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: Every person who has ever achieved anything has been knocked down many times. But all Every person who has ever achieved anything has been knocked down many times. But all of them picked themselves up and kept going, and that is what I have always tried to do.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: You have to know yourself, and that once you know yourself, then you cannot be You have to know yourself, and that once you know yourself, then you cannot be bound by - because sometimes we are bound by other people's thoughts, because we are not sure about ourselves. But once you know yourself ... I guess it is really an expression of the biblical statements that the truth will make you free! When you know, then you are free, your mind is free.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: It was easy to persecute me without people feeling ashamed. It was easy to vilify It was easy to persecute me without people feeling ashamed. It was easy to vilify me and project me as a woman who was not following the tradition of a 'good African woman' and as a highly educated elitist who was trying to show innocent African women ways of doing things that were not acceptable to African men.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: I think that for anybody who has worked in the civil society, government bureaucracy moves I think that for anybody who has worked in the civil society, government bureaucracy moves very very slowly.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: Culture is coded wisdom Culture is coded wisdom
Wangari Maathai Sayings: All of us have a God in us, and that God is the spirit that All of us have a God in us, and that God is the spirit that unites all life, everything that is on this planet.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: What people see as fearlessness is really persistence. Because I am focused on the solution, What people see as fearlessness is really persistence. Because I am focused on the solution, I don't see the danger.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: No matter how dark the cloud, there is always a thin, silver lining, and that No matter how dark the cloud, there is always a thin, silver lining, and that is what we must look for. The silver lining will come, if not to us then to next generation or the generation after that. And maybe with that generation the lining will no longer be thin.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: I definitely hope to relax when I get back hope. I will disappear into the I definitely hope to relax when I get back hope. I will disappear into the forest and be rejuvenated by the beauty of the mountains.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: It's the little things citizens do. That's what will make the difference. My little thing It's the little things citizens do. That's what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: A tree has roots in the soil yet reaches to the sky. It tells us A tree has roots in the soil yet reaches to the sky. It tells us that in order to aspire we need to be grounded and that no matter how high we go it is from our roots that we draw sustenance. It is a reminder to all of us who have had success that we cannot forget where we came from. It signifies that no matter how powerful we become in government or how many awards we receive, our power and strength and our ability to reach our goals depend on the people, those whose work remain unseen, who are the soil out of which we grow, the shoulders on which we stand
Wangari Maathai Sayings: Disempowerment - whether defined in terms of a lack of self-confidence , apathy, fear, or Disempowerment - whether defined in terms of a lack of self-confidence , apathy, fear, or an inability to take charge of one's own life - is perhaps the most unrecognised problem in Africa today.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: What a friend we have in a tree, the tree is the symbol of hope, What a friend we have in a tree, the tree is the symbol of hope, self improvement and what people can do for themselves.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: It is important to nurture any new ideas and initiatives which can make a difference It is important to nurture any new ideas and initiatives which can make a difference for Africa.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: When you think of all the conflicts we have - whether those conflicts are local, When you think of all the conflicts we have - whether those conflicts are local, whether they are regional or global - these conflicts are often over the management, the distribution of resources. If these resources are very valuable, if these resources are scarce, if these resources are degraded, there is going to be competition.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: I know there is pain when sawmills close and people lose jobs, but we have I know there is pain when sawmills close and people lose jobs, but we have to make a choice. We need water and we need these forests.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: Because I was a woman, I was vulnerable. It was easy to vilify me and Because I was a woman, I was vulnerable. It was easy to vilify me and project me as a woman who was not following the tradition of a 'good African woman.'
Wangari Maathai Sayings: Women are responsible for their children, they cannot sit back, waste time and see them Women are responsible for their children, they cannot sit back, waste time and see them starve.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: It's very important to remain optimistic and to see the silver lining in everything you It's very important to remain optimistic and to see the silver lining in everything you do. Because no matter how sometimes things look difficult, and look like there is no hope, there is always a small glimmering of silver lining that is in everything, and I always look for that, and hang on that, and before I know it, another day comes and is gone.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: Passion begins with a burden and a split-second moment, when you understand something like never Passion begins with a burden and a split-second moment, when you understand something like never before. That burden is on those who know. Those who don't know are at peace. Those of us who do know get disturbed and are forced to take action.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: I'm very conscious of the fact that you can't do it alone. It's teamwork. When I'm very conscious of the fact that you can't do it alone. It's teamwork. When you do it alone you run the risk that when you are no longer there nobody else will do it.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: We refuse to share resources; we govern irresponsibly. If we are confident, if we have We refuse to share resources; we govern irresponsibly. If we are confident, if we have some of our cultural values, then we would be more committed to assisting our people out of poverty and creating an environment that can make it possible for our friends to assist us.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: As long as we have all these conflicts, it is the women who will continue As long as we have all these conflicts, it is the women who will continue to suffer, so that is one reason why I guess as women we should really work for peace, because we know how painful wars can be to us and our daughters.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: The people are learning that you cannot leave decisions only to leaders. Local groups have The people are learning that you cannot leave decisions only to leaders. Local groups have to create the political will for change, rather than waiting for others to do things for them. That is where positive, and sustainable, change begins.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: For us who are now in power, we need to be challenged to serve the For us who are now in power, we need to be challenged to serve the people and ignore our own egos and personal interests so that we can really demonstrate to other African states that it is possible to share power without going to war.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: For me, one of the major reasons to move beyond just the planting of trees For me, one of the major reasons to move beyond just the planting of trees was that I have tendency to look at the causes of a problem. We often preoccupy ourselves with the symptoms, whereas if we went to the root cause of the problems, we would be able to overcome the problems once and for all.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system. We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own - indeed to embrace the whole of creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder. Recognizing that sustainable development, democracy and peace are indivisible is an idea whose time has come
Wangari Maathai Sayings: It's a matter of life and death for this country. The Kenyan forests are facing It's a matter of life and death for this country. The Kenyan forests are facing extinction and it is a man-made problem.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: Throughout my life, I have never stopped to strategize about my next steps. I often Throughout my life, I have never stopped to strategize about my next steps. I often just keep walking along, through whichever door opens. I have been on a journey and this journey has never stopped. When the journey is acknowledged and sustained by those I work with, they are a source of inspiration, energy and encouragement. They are the reasons I kept walking, and will keep walking, as long as my knees hold out.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: When I first started, it was really an innocent response to the needs of women When I first started, it was really an innocent response to the needs of women in rural areas. When we started planting trees to meet their needs, there was nothing beyond that. I did not see all the issues that I have to come to deal with.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: In a few decades, the relationship between the environment, resources and conflict may seem almost In a few decades, the relationship between the environment, resources and conflict may seem almost as obvious as the connection we see today between human rights, democracy and peace.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: What is really important is to educate people how to protect themselves and how to What is really important is to educate people how to protect themselves and how to ensure that, despite their poverty, they can get tested and access drugs. So I just hope that those who can will make those drugs available.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: Do not be naive. AIDS is not a curse from God to Africans or the Do not be naive. AIDS is not a curse from God to Africans or the black people. It is a tool to control them designed by some evil-minded scientists, but we may not know who particularly did it.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: Sometimes when I talk to little children I remind them of the fact that when Sometimes when I talk to little children I remind them of the fact that when I was growing up myself, I used to play with frog eggs and tadpoles and I used to walk in the field, I used to literally copy whatever my mother was doing on the land. And that may be the reason why I eventually developed the passion for green and for the Earth. So it is extremely important for adults and especially those who are in charge of cities to make sure that we do not lose touch with the land and with the environment. And especially our children.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: We cannot tire or give up. We owe it to the present and future generations We cannot tire or give up. We owe it to the present and future generations of all species to rise up and walk!
Wangari Maathai Sayings: Finally I was able to see that if I had a contribution I wanted to Finally I was able to see that if I had a contribution I wanted to make, I must do it, despite what others said. That I was OK the way I was. That it was all right to be strong.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: But when you have bad governance, of course, these resources are destroyed: The forests are But when you have bad governance, of course, these resources are destroyed: The forests are deforested, there is illegal logging, there is soil erosion. I got pulled deeper and deeper and saw how these issues become linked to governance, to corruption, to dictatorship.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: Every one of us can make a contribution. And quite often we are looking for Every one of us can make a contribution. And quite often we are looking for the big things and forget that, wherever we are, we can make a contribution. Sometimes I tell myself, I may only be planting a tree here, but just imagine what's happening if there are billions of people out there doing something. Just imagine the power of what we can do.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: The planet needs trees. If there is indeed that carbon dioxide out there in the The planet needs trees. If there is indeed that carbon dioxide out there in the atmosphere, the only species on the planet that can actually trap it for us in a natural process of photosynthesis are the trees.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and seeds of hope. When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and seeds of hope.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: The generation that destroys the environment is not the generation that pays the price. That The generation that destroys the environment is not the generation that pays the price. That is the problem.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: When I went back home, I was constantly being reminded, I'm an African woman, and When I went back home, I was constantly being reminded, I'm an African woman, and so there are certain things I shouldn't do, certain ambitions that I should not entertain. That was a problem for me because I had never thought of myself as an African woman, never thought of myself as a woman to begin with. For me the limit was my capacity, my capability.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: Those of us who have been privileged to receive education, skills, and experiences and even Those of us who have been privileged to receive education, skills, and experiences and even power must be role models for the next generation of leadership.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: The women of the Green Belt Movement have learned about the causes and the symptoms The women of the Green Belt Movement have learned about the causes and the symptoms of environmental degradation. They have begun to appreciate that they, rather than their government, ought to be the custodians of the environment.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: I have always felt that perhaps women have sometimes almost embraced the same values as I have always felt that perhaps women have sometimes almost embraced the same values as men, and the same character as men, because they are in the men's world, and they are trying to fit into a system that men have created. And maybe in truth when there is a critical mass of women who play that role in governments, then we will see whether women can really manage power in a way that is less destructive than the way that men have used power.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: We need to promote development that does not destroy our environment. We need to promote development that does not destroy our environment.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: The people are starving. They need food; they need medicine; they need education. They do The people are starving. They need food; they need medicine; they need education. They do not need a skyscraper to house the ruling party and a 24-hour TV station.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: Culture defines who we are and how we see ourselves. A new attitude toward nature Culture defines who we are and how we see ourselves. A new attitude toward nature provides space for a new attitude toward culture and the role it plays in sustainable development
Wangari Maathai Sayings: There will always be people who think that you have ambitions. There will always be people who think that you have ambitions.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: Why has there been so much secrecy about AIDS? When you ask where did the Why has there been so much secrecy about AIDS? When you ask where did the virus come from, it raises a lot of flags. That makes me suspicious.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: For me planting a tree is a very doable thing. It's not complicated, it doesn't For me planting a tree is a very doable thing. It's not complicated, it doesn't require technology, it doesn't require much knowledge, but it can be a very important entry point into communities understanding how they destroy their own resources, but how they can also restore those resources, and not wait for their government or international agencies to come and help them.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: Some say that AIDS came from the monkeys, and I doubt that because we have Some say that AIDS came from the monkeys, and I doubt that because we have been living with monkeys from time immemorial, others say it was a curse from God, but I say it cannot be that.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: We tend to put the environment last because we think the first thing we have We tend to put the environment last because we think the first thing we have to do is eliminate poverty. But you can't reduce poverty in a vacuum. You are doing it in an environment.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: I want to do the right things - I want to plant trees, I want I want to do the right things - I want to plant trees, I want to make sure that the indigenous forests are protected because I know, whatever happens, these are the forests that contain biodiversity, these are the forests that help us retain water when it rains and keep our rivers flowing, these are the forests that many future generations will need.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: I learned in America a long time ago, the three R's, the principle of three I learned in America a long time ago, the three R's, the principle of three R's - reuse, reduce, recycle. And as I say those words, there are so many things individually we can do to reduce - we don't need to consume as much as we are consuming. Reduce. And by reusing, we can reuse a lot of things we just throw into the dumpsite. And reduce the production. The more we reuse, the more we can reduce.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: When people can't use you, they ridicule what you represent. I was lucky that I When people can't use you, they ridicule what you represent. I was lucky that I understood that, because when one does not understand that, it is very easy to be broken and to be subdued.
Wangari Maathai Sayings: That's the way I do things when I want to celebrate, I always plant a That's the way I do things when I want to celebrate, I always plant a tree. And so I got an indigenous tree, called Nandi flame, it has this beautiful red flowers. When it is in flower it is like it is in flame.