Making the World Better, One Tree at a Time

  • by:
  • target: Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State
Africa is bursting with an array of natural resources, yet it remains the world's poorest and least-developed continent. Widespread poverty, starvation, disease, corruption, war and failed central planning have degraded many of its precious natural resources, often at the hands of desperate people.

Fortunately, as the late Dr. Wangari Maathai taught us, protecting the environment and empowering local communities don't have to be mutually exclusive. Dr. Maathai,the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, was committed to environmental protection, democracy, and human rights. She helped 900,000 African women implement tree planting programs. All told they've planted some 40 million trees.

Dr. Maathai proved it was possible to help people succeed and protect the environment. Her legacy should be continued. Tell Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to ensure that a portion of U.S. foreign aid supports improving environmental responsibility and sustainability in Africa.
Dear Secretary Clinton,

I am writing to thank you for the work that you've done on behalf of women, both at home and around the world. Your support has made all the difference for thousands of women working for democracy, rights and peace.

One such woman is Dr. Wangari Maathai, who passed away in September 2011. The first woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in Africa, she worked tirelessly to find the connections between problems that are global and local, environmental and human. Responsible for planting some 40 million trees, Dr. Maathai helped more than 900,000 African women move closer to realizing their potential by implementing tree planting programs across the continent. Planting and caring for these trees empowers local women by supplying firewood and food, and also improves the environment by alleviating deforestation and soil erosion. Dr. Maathai's organization also runs concurrent, related programs focusing on health, water harvesting, and income generation.

I urge you to ensure that a portion of our foreign aid spending goes to support improving environmental sustainability in Africa. I know that Dr. Maathai would want nothing more.


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