Enter the Conversation: A Visit with Wangari Maathai

Cathedral of St. John the Divine  (112th St. & Amsterdam Ave., NYC)
Wednesday, 1 December, 7:00 pm
The evening is free to the public; the doors open approximately one hour prior to the event.

Wangari Maathai was born in Nyeri, Kenya, in 1940. She is the founder of the Green Belt Movement (GBM), which, through networks of rural women, has planted over 30 million trees across Kenya since 1977.  She was elected to Kenya’s Parliament (2002 – 2007) in the first free elections in a generation, and was appointed Deputy Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources (2003-2006). The Nobel Peace Prize laureate of 2004, she has three grown children and lives and works in Nairobi.

When Wangari Maathai began her work with GBM, she wasn’t motivated by her faith or religion. Instead, she was thinking literally and practically about solving the problems of rural populations who were suffering from a lack of basic needs such as clean water and adequate food. After many years of working with the GBM, she came to realize that the organization has certain intangible values, specifically: love for the environment, respect and gratitude for Earth’s resources, self-empowerment and the spirit of service.  None of these core values belongs to one faith tradition more than any other; indeed, someone can adhere to these values without being particularly religious or holding onto one particular creed. Dr. Maathai believes these values are spiritual in that they foster the aspects of ourselves that seek more than material comfort, power, or worldly success. They are what give our lives value and meaning, and inspire us to look beyond ourselves.

Dr. Maathai has recently written about her journey in a book titled Replenishing the Earth: Spiritual Values for Healing Ourselves and the World.  The book seeks to engender a new level of consciousness in people’s spiritual lives, explaining why it is necessary to reconnect with the natural world wherever they live on the planet.

Please visit for more information on Dr. Maathai's work. 

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