Remembering Professor Wangari Maathai

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In late September, the human rights world lost a leading voice in field, Wangari Maathai.  Maathai was the founder of The Greenbelt Movement and was the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn her doctorate degree. Through hosting community-tree planting sessions Maathai brought environmental conservation to the spotlight and made the connection that human rights abuses are environmentally grounded. She said, "In a few decades, the relationship between the environment, resources and conflict may seem almost as obvious as the connection we see today between human rights, democracy and peace."

Today, environmental human rights are at the core of human rights discourse; from land rights, access to resources and indigenous rights. Maathai was a progressive thought leader and actor in the human rights space and human rights practitioners are greatly indebted to her for her contributions. Her legacy lives on.