25 Wangari Maathai Quotes From the Inspirational Nobel Peace Prize Winner

These Wangari Maathai quotes will inspire you to make a difference!

Wangari Maathai was born in the Tetu, Nyeri District of Kenya, in 1940 and died in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2011.

During her life, she accomplished many things, such as being a powerful social, environmental, and political activist.

One of her most well-known accomplishments occurred in 2004 when she became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her “contribution to sustainable development, democracy, and peace.”

Maathai was a beneficiary of the Kennedy Airlift which allowed her to study in the United States.

She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Mount St. Scholastica and the University of Pittsburgh.

She founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977, which was an environmental organization that focused on women’s rights, the planting of trees, and environmental conservation.

Take a look at these Wangari Maathai quotes to learn more about this trailblazing woman.

You will also enjoy our article on tree quotes.

Inspirational Wangari Maathai Quotes

Enjoy these inspiring quotes from Wangari Maathai.

1. “What people see as fearlessness is really persistence.” — Wangari Maathai

2. “There are opportunities even in the most difficult moments.” — Wangari Maathai

3. “We need to promote development that does not destroy our environment.” — Wangari Maathai

4. “It’s the little things citizens do. That’s what will make the difference.” — Wangari Maathai

5. “It is important to nurture any new ideas and initiatives which can make a difference for Africa.” — Wangari Maathai

6. “The generation that destroys the environment is not the generation that pays the price. That is the problem.” — Wangari Maathai

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7. “Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it survive, you haven’t done a thing. You are just talking.” — Wangari Maathai

8. “Human rights are not things that are put on the table for people to enjoy. These are things you fight for, and then you protect.” — Wangari Maathai

9. “We owe it to ourselves and to the next generation to conserve the environment so that we can bequeath our children a sustainable world that benefits all.” — Wangari Maathai

10. “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.” — Wangari Maathai

Wise Wangari Maathai Quotes

Check out these wise quotes by Wangari Maathai.

11. “I’m very conscious of the fact that you can’t do it alone. It’s teamwork.” — Wangari Maathai

12. “No matter who or where we are, or what our capabilities, we are called to do the best we can.” — Wangari Maathai

13. “Sometimes we become bound by other people’s thoughts because we are not sure about ourselves.” — Wangari Maathai

14. “We cannot tire or give up. We owe it to the present and future generations of all species to rise up and walk!” — Wangari Maathai

15. “Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system.” — Wangari Maathai

16. “You cannot protect the environment unless you empower people, you inform them, and you help them understand that these resources are their own, that they must protect them.” — Wangari Maathai

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17. “Every person who has ever achieved anything has been knocked down many times. But all of them picked themselves up and kept going, and that is what I have always tried to do.” — Wangari Maathai

The Best Wangari Maathai Quotes

Here are some of the best Wangari Maathai quotes!

18. “That’s the way I do things when I want to celebrate; I always plant a tree.” — Wangari Maathai

19. “The living conditions of the poor must be improved if we really want to save our environment.” — Wangari Maathai

20. “I think some of these solutions are prepared in an office without a full understanding of the local situation.” — Wangari Maathai

21. “We have a responsibility to protect the rights of generations, of all species, that cannot speak for themselves today.” — Wangari Maathai

22. “It’s a matter of life and death for this country. The Kenyan forests are facing extinction, and it is a man-made problem.” — Wangari Maathai

23. “Unfortunately, the issues of climate change, unlike many other issues, are very subtle because the changes we observe are very, very subtle.” — Wangari Maathai

24. “If you make mistakes, that is alright because we all make mistakes, and we learn from those mistakes. You gain confidence from learning, failing, and rising again.” — Wangari Maathai

25. “Disempowerment – whether defined in terms of a lack of self-confidence, apathy, fear, or an inability to take charge of one’s own life – is perhaps the most unrecognized problem in Africa today.” — Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai’s Personal Life

Maathai grew up in the central highlands of Kenya before she went to school and was granted admission to a prominent high school which led to her college education in the United States.

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When Maathai returned to Kenya, she got married to Mwangi Mathai, and they had three children together before ultimately divorcing in 1979.

In 1977 she started the Green Belt Movement, and she continued to fight for democracy for the rest of her life.

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