This Women's History Month, Waterway Advocates is highlighting one of the greatest environmental feminists of all time: Wangari Maathai.
Born in Ihithe, Kenya, Wangari Maathai was the founder of the Green Belt Movement. Maathai focused on enriching the lives of women through environmental conservation. By empowering women to become stewards of the land, the Green Belt Movement fights to put a stop to the environmental degradation that disrupts their livelihoods. Since the organization was founded in 1977, the GBM has planted over 51 million trees to date.
This March, we challenge you to follow in Maathai's footsteps by planting a tree within your community!
To support the work of the Green Belt Movement, gift a tree for only $10.
The story of the hummingbird is about this huge forest being consumed by a fire. All the animals in the forest come out and they are transfixed as they watch the forest burning and they feel very overwhelmed, very powerless, except for this little hummingbird. It says, ‘I’m going to do something about the fire!’ So it flies to the nearest stream and takes a drop of water. It puts it on the fire, and goes up and down, up and down, up and down, as fast as it can.
In the meantime, all the other animals, much bigger animals like the elephant with a big trunk that could bring much more water, they are standing there helpless. And they are saying to the hummingbird, ‘What do you think you can do? You are too little. This fire is too big. Your wings are too little and your beak is so small that you can only bring a small drop of water at a time.’
But as they continue to discourage it, it turns to them without wasting any time and it tells them, ‘I am doing the best I can.’
And that to me is what all of us should do. We should always be like a hummingbird. I may be insignificant, but I certainly don’t want to be like the animals watching the planet goes down the drain. I will be a hummingbird. I will do the best I can.
- Wangari Maathai
Nature Hubs & Pollination Stations!
What is a nature hub?
From a vacant urban lot to a 1-acre land parcel near a waterway, nature hubs and pollination stations come in all shapes and sizes!
When you step foot into the hub, you will be surrounded by native trees, plants, and wildflowers, whose sweet aromas pleasantly greet your senses. Your neighbor greets you with a smile, as they make a quick stop at the specialty recycling receptacles, like those for cigarette butts, ink cartridges, or Styrofoam. Your eye may be drawn to a white-breasted nuthatch as it hops down a tree headfirst, or a bat performing natural pest control as it swirls through the twilight sky. In the background, you may hear the laughter of a 4th grade class learning how to compost, or the quiet rippling of the bordering river. On your way around the trails, you notice the veggie garden's bright hues beautifully complementing the fields of native wildflowers swaying in the breeze. No matter where they are established, they serve to support local ecosystems and bring our communities together.
Tips for Dealing with Electronic Waste
Electronic waste (e-waste) contains toxins such as lead, mercury, and arsenic that can be harmful to humans and ecosystems alike. Disposing of them through traditional systems – such as landfills – can result in the leaching of these deadly chemicals into the environment. Instead, we recommend that you dispose of old electronics through free Electronic Recycling programs offered by your county!
To learn more about how to dispose of electronic waste in your location, visit:
Native Plant of the Month!