Authors: Markese Bryant
April 22nd, 2012 is the first Earth Day since the passing of Wangari Maathai, a beloved hero of both planet and people. Winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, Wangari Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement in Kenya, which has planted over 40 million trees through the leadership of rural women across the country.
Professor Maathai and the women she collaborated with embody everything our movement strives to uphold: bravery, deep responsibility, and the self-determination of communities most affected by pollution and poverty. In the words of Wangari Maathai, “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.”
It is in her honor that Green For All celebrates Earth Day this year in Atlanta with an intergenerational crew of volunteers--all dedicated to serving their community and protecting the environment. In partnership with Woodson Elementary School, Team Americorps, and Let’s Retrofit A Million, Green For All will host a service event with elementary school students, parents, and students from Morehouse College, Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University—three prestigious Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in Atlanta.
Through tree-planting and energy-efficient light bulb installation at Woodson Elementary, we hope to highlight the important role that children and young adults play in transforming our communities and creating a greener, more prosperous world. After upgrading the school and planting trees, the crew of students, community members, Green For All Fellows, and College Ambassadors will then head out into Atlanta neighborhoods, going door-to-door to provide energy efficient light bulbs and water efficiency kits. Through efforts like this, we honor the spirit of Wangari Maathai. Together, we can make every day Earth Day!