- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Lantern Books; Revised edition (March 1, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 159056040X
- ISBN-13: 978-1590560402
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Green Belt Movement: Sharing the Approach and the Experience Paperback – March 1, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
In October 2004, environmental activist Maathai became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, an honor that has sparked the publication of this expanded edition of her slim treatise, first published in 1985 and then revised in 2003. As founder of Kenyas Green Belt Movement, a grassroots organization that encourages tree planting and other environmental initiatives, Maathai clashed often with the former Kenyan government but, in 2002, she was elected to the countrys Parliament and became assistant minister for the environment. This book begins with a dry account of the Green Belt Movements 20-year history, which has been filled with setbacks and successes that are undoubtedly fascinating, but Maathai hurries by them with bland, cut-and-dry statements ("Unfortunately, very few people responded"; "Save the Land Harambee began to spread quickly"). The second half of the book reads like an extended grant proposal, enumerating goals and projects, explaining why ideas are worthwhile and outlining step-by-step processes that similar groups can follow. Many sections are little more than laundry lists of activities and achievements that barely hint at the groups struggles against countless obstacles, particularly corruption and indifference. The material added to this edition seems slight: the Nobel committees statement on Maathai, her acceptance speech, a new preface and an interview she did with the Worldwatch Institute, where at last some of her passion shines through. Many Westerners didnt recognize Maathais name when she won the Nobel and, while this description of the Green Belt Movements admirable past is enlightening, it reads like a presentation Maathai might make to potential donors.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Maathai stands at the front of the fight to promote ecologically viable social, economic and cultural development in Kenya and in Africa.—Oje Danbolt Mjoes, Nobel committee chairman
"[A] powerful and informative book."—E Magazine
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The Green Belt Movement organizes women in rural Kenya to plant trees, combat deforestation, restore their main source of fuel for cooking, generate income, and stop soil erosion. Maathai has incorporated support and empowerment for women, eco-tourism, and just overall economic development into the Green Belt Movement. Since the movement started in 1976, over fifty-one million trees have been planted. Over 30,000 women have been trained in forestry, food processing, bee-keeping, and other skills that help them earn income while preserving their lands and resources. Communities in Kenya have been motivated and organized to both prevent further environmental destruction and to help restore that which has been damaged or destroyed.
Although there was a lot of information throughout this book, I found the information to follow the lines of common sense. One could debate that common sense comes along with knowledge which is learned and not genetically inherited. So, the listing of the steps and the explanations are not that far-fetched, as there are intelligent people who lack common sense, which explains book smarts versus street smarts. I thought the book spoke about the same topics regarding how to start plantations on your own two different times, but in different chapters of the book. Sometimes I would say repeating yourself is a bad writing technique, but in this case I will make an exception. Knowing the correct and proper way of planting a tree is quite necessary, if the tree is to survive and prosper.
While reading this book, I kept thinking to myself, “Wow, this project must have been a really great idea. Nobody wants to oppose any of her ideas, nobody thinks this is a waste of time or effort. Why couldn’t Americans be this ambitious over replanting trees?” But then I was shown a video (Dater) that portrayed the experiences of the group known as GBM. If it were not for the showing of this video, I would have thought this group met no resistance or hostility. This group was beneficial to the country as a whole. Miss Maathai does not write about her troubles or confrontations which led me to believe that everyone was on board with her ideas.
I did not do any deep thinking while reading, but if I would have taken time to think, I would have realized that Wangari Maathai was trying to start her organization as an activist during the time period when women were not taken seriously. The group had to deal with many aggressive and violent assaults based on the fact that the group was mainly comprised of women. The government was against the goals of this group and the empowerment of women, including the President, who was trying to prevent GBM from succeeding. I thought this was odd. As members of a community, you would want to see your leaders actively accept positive environmental changes, not create a roadblock, or present other complications. (Dater) I was surprised that Wangari did not mention her incarceration or any of her personal setbacks. Perhaps that is because she wanted the book to be up-lifting and inspirational.
The book, The Green Belt Movement, by Wangari Maathai, explains the story of why the organization, was founded, how the GBM operates, and where the GBM is trying go in the future. Miss Maathai describes the philosophy behind the GBM, the challenges and objectives, and the specific steps for starting a similar mass environmental and group activist organization. The “Green Belt Movement” is an inspiring story of people working together to improve their environment and their country.