Professor Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan who became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, started the Green Belt Movement in 1977, working with her female compatriots to demand and obtain greater access to resources like firewood for cooking and clean water. She became a steadfast advocate for better management of natural resources and for sustainability, equity, and social justice.

In presenting her with the Peace Prize, the Nobel committee hailed her for taking “a holistic approach to sustainable development that embraces democracy, human rights and women’s rights in particular” and serving “as inspiration for many in the fight for democratic rights.” A summary of her  astounding life and work can be read here.

The best way to remember Maathai is to support the Green Belt Movement, which she founded and in which she invested her life hopes.