There are many inspirational African women, and the Kenyan, Professor Wangari Maathai, was one of them. An ardent environmentalist and women’s rights campaigner, she was the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.
Perhaps her most lasting legacy is the Green Belt Movement. A grass-roots tree-planting initiative, it was established through the National Council of Women in Kenya in 1977. Remarkably, this initiative kept gathering momentum. It now has an international arm, with offices in Europe and the United States. And, since her death in September last year, numerous commemorative tree-plantings have taken place throughout the world.
As travellers, we have become more aware of our carbon footprint and the impact it has on the planet. Many tour operators recommend carbon-offsetting through planting trees. Taking this a step further, hotels and lodges often have their own tree-planting schemes, where guests can participate and plant a tree while on holiday.
One example of this is at Amboseli Serena Lodge in Kenya, near Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. The tree plantation they have created is developing into a small Acacia woodland on the dusty plain near the hotel. And the added benefit has been to significantly increase birdlife in the area.