Wednesday, September 28, 2011

day 261 ~ the hummingbird, A Tribute To Wangari Maathai


While it doesn't surprise me that after, multiple decades of adulthood, I still have so very much to learn, it does surprise me that I somehow missed out on following the inspiring life of Wangari Maathai.

Professor Maathai passed from this life just two days ago. In honor of her, a friend of mine shared a two minute video, and in two short minutes I was moved to tears.

Those tears led me to search for more information about this amazing woman. Each and every discovery resulted in still more tears: joyful tears, proud tears, grateful tears all for a life so very well lived.

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki announced today that Wangari Maathai will receive a state funeral, and declared that tomorrow and Friday are national days of mourning.

Not only was Wangari Maathai the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, she began down that road by planting trees. She became known as "The Tree Lady", a passionate environmentalist who stood firm against the Kenyan government's money grab via deforestation, at a time when disobedience was not tolerated. Standing firm was only part of her story, however. Perhaps her greatest achievement, in addition to being true to herself, was that she inspired and organized Kenyan women. Together, they learned how to plant trees. Together, they created The Green Belt Movement.

Hers is a magnificent story of devotion and love. I hope you will take two minutes to watch this video and that you find yourself inspired, not only to go and watch more of her wonderful story, but that you will be a hummingbird.

One simple way to plant a tree is via The Nature Conservancy's Plant A Billion program, where $1 plants one tree in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil, one of the most devastated rainforests on the planet. What better tribute to this beautiful life could there possibly be? If you don't have a dollar to spare, why not share Professor Maathai's message and this easy to use link:

Think hummingbird like thoughts. Together, we really can make a difference.


Thank you, Wangari Maathai. 

gratitude ~ misha


  1. In our many conversations, I cannot believe that I didn't bring up the name and story of this remarkable woman to you! You know how I watch all those depressing documentaries? She has been featured prominently in quite a few, especially the ones about the nasty bottled water industry. She is and will remain a special, heroic figure. That she was recognized and awarded in her lifetime is very nice, but her heart was focused on what needed to be done. Your tribute here is thorough, timely, and wonderful.

  2. Your comment made me smile, Rick. It was so perfect the way that I did discover her, the exact moment, the resulting tears, the amazement that it wasn't until her passing that I had learned of her Life...all of it. The unfolding was just right.

    Such an inspiration! Such a life well lived. Such a sweet, lovely hummingbird...

    The lack of response to this post has solidified, for me, the realization of just how many fear struck animals are standing around the burning forest. My initial emotional response was disappointment and then some pretty fiery annoyance, but really...who am I to judge? It's a waste of time. The point is to carry the water one drop at a time, and to do it with a passion.

    If I ever manage to do it with a smile like Wangari Maathai's, then I'll know I'm getting somewhere. It's not just about the external woes...

    Much love to you, my friend and fiery hummingbird.