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Singing Her Legacy: Join World Pulse in Joyful Celebration of Wangari Maathai

© UN Photo/Evan Schneider
World Pulse invites you to post your tribute to Wangari Maathai to your PulseWire journal

From "Poem for Wangari"
by Philo Ikonya
After the tears.... Wangari
Trees are celebrating - Wangari
The rivers singing - Wangari
Women rising - Wangari
Girls are winning - Wangari
The world is dancing - Wangari
It is breathing - Wangari
Read the full poem here.

On September 25th, 2011, the world lost a great leader. The emotional outpouring at the news of Wangari Maathai’s death highlighted the Kenyan activist’s global influence as a Nobel laureate, a politician, a scientist, a professor; as a pioneering environmentalist, a voice for her people, and as a women’s empowerment advocate. Above all, she will be remembered as the soul of an enduring movement.

“It's the little things citizens do. That's what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees.” -Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai may have viewed tree planting as a little thing. But through her vision and determination, and the legions of women she inspired, one tree turned into over 40 million. She raised the bar for what’s possible; for what we can and should expect of ourselves—and of each other. Today the Green Belt Movement she founded is alive and well, with its sights set on planting a billion trees—while empowering women to become stewards of the environment and their societies.

Beyond the official Green Belt Movement, ordinary individuals are carrying on her legacy in their own ways. In the days following Wangari’s passing, PulseWire was flooded with touching tributes. Some from women who had met Wangari personally. Others who have felt her impact from across the globe.

World Pulse invites you to add your voice to the chorus. Have you been inspired by Wangari Maathai? What “little thing” do you have to offer the planet? Is it a tree? a poem? a reflection? an idea? a letter to a future generation? a call to action? We want to see it! Our editorial team may ask your permission to publish your tributes or excerpts in our upcoming print magazine or in the Community Voices column online.

How to Participate

1. Join PulseWire
If you're not already a member, join PulseWire, World Pulse's online community of grassroots women leaders and supporters of women's initiatives from 180 countries.
2. Write your tribute
post to your tribute In your PulseWire journal by December 9 to be considered for publication in World Pulse’s print or online magazine
3. Tag your journal
In the tag field of your journal, enter Wangari Maathai and your journal will automatically appear as part of this campaign. Without this tag, we may miss your journal, so be sure to copy it exactly. In addition, you may enter other appropriate tags, such as "environment," "hero," "leadership," etc. to help readers search for and find your entry.
4. Watch your “little things” join together to become a very big thing
Be inspired by PulseWire tributes from around the world.


“...Beaten and thrown into jail for daring to speak yet you remained unbroken and peaceful
You shouted yourself hoarse because you believed in securing today, the future of our planet
You were energetic and passionate and even cried at the felling of trees, strange many would want to think
Many a tree stands today because you stood, you greened your community...”
-Olanike Olugboji

For Nigerian environmentalist Olanike Olugboji, a meeting with her hero Wangari Maathai, the “Green Queen” was a life changing event. Read the rest of her tribute here. And the many other tributes from the PulseWire community.

Looking for more inspiration?

Visit The Green Belt Movement on their website or on PulseWire.

Or read Wangari Maathai's 2006 memoir Unbowed.



Diane Dillon's picture

this topic

Hello and thank you for creating this opportunity for voices to join togehter and be heard. Today I posted to my journal for this. I hope I did it right so it goes to the right place.
I wrote some poems which may contribute and a story.

jap21's picture

Hi Kim

Wangari is an example for all of us. I did not know about her passing. I am going to celebrate her life here in World Pulse. I urge all people to come and celebrate her life too, to keep on walking together, as women of the world.



Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America

NI NI AYE's picture

Thans for letting her praise

Hi Kim

Thank you so much for this memorable moment. I like her a lot and I created a lesson in my class to write a letter to her two years ago.. My students were really motivated and wrote letters how they would contribute the people environment .It was one of my favorite activities of all my teaching experience. I didn't know about her death until I found this post from World Pulse . I have just posted a poem in my journal . Actually I wrote a haiku but it changed the format after I posted it . I wish I could edit it to form a haiku .

Best Regards


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