Championing Peace: The Legacy of Wanguri Maathai in Kenya

Peace is a word often said but not always practiced. Wanguri Maathai spent her life striving to make Kenya a better environment and initiating the planting of trees. Tenzin Gyatso also wanted to improve the environment as a spiritual leader to the absence of war, pain and torture. Aung San Suu Kyi wanted freedom and equal rights through non-violence. Wanagari Maathai, Tenzin Gyatso and Aung San Suu Kyi were all awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, 1989 and 1991 for the GreenBelt Movement, spiritual leadership, and for democratic and human rights struggles.

Wanagar Maatha was a strong black woman. Throughout her life she was very dedicated to the well being of the environment. While serving on the National Council of Women of Kenya, Maathai introduced an idea. She proposed the idea of planting trees on farms, schools and churches. Planting trees in these areas aimed to create a better environment for breathing, additionally it also created a filtration system for cleaner water. By planting fruit trees it would help to abolish malnutrition, which was very prevalent in Kenya.

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Ultimately this lead to the Greenbelt Movement, which spread like a epidemic, it eventually developed into the Pan African Green Belt Network, working in Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Lesotho, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, and other countries.

Another peaceful historic figure was Tenzin Gyasto. Throughout Gyasto’s life he was fully committed to peace. At the age of two he was recognized as the reincarnated 13th Dalai Lama. In Buddhist faith, Dalai Lama’s, are spiritual leaders who choose to dedicate their lives to serving people.

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In 1987,  Gyatso proposed to the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, a Five-Point Peace Plan. The Peace plan was designed to  designate TIbet as a peace zone, restore fundamental human rights. It also assisted the abolishment of China’s exploitation of Tibet in producing nuclear weapons, and using Tibet as a nuclear dumping ground. The final goal of Gyatso’s five-point-plan was to create a self-governing Tibet. In the 1989 Inner Peace and Human Rights speech, Gyatso states that “peace, in a sense is the absence of war.” “Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where individuals and nations are free.(Bloom)” Gyatso believed that mental peace is the first step to achieve inner peace and peace within the world around us. He explains that ways to insure peace is to recognize that many focus on material development without also focusing on the spiritual aspect of life.

Among Tenzin Gyatso and Wangari Maathai was Aung San Suu Kyi. She dedicated her life to liberation and freedom rights. FIghitng in parliament for what she believed in . She was brutally harassed for her many actions against oppression. Her party eventually won 82 precent of the seats in parliament, but the military state voided the results. She was awarded the nobel peace prize for fighting for those people who are striving for democracy, and human rights, who are starving for peace within there counties. Aun San Suu Kyi gave those people a word in parliament and tirelessly fought for their rights.

Peace is a world often said but not always practiced. Wanguri Maathai, Tenzin Gyatso, and Aung San Suu Kyi all never relinquidhed. They all fought for what they truly believed in. These three people all rightfully were awarded the Noble Peace Prize.

Updated: Apr 29, 2023
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Championing Peace: The Legacy of Wanguri Maathai in Kenya. (2016, Sep 08). Retrieved from

Championing Peace: The Legacy of Wanguri Maathai in Kenya essay
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