Media Release: Edinburgh locals and city council unite in a tree-planting commemoration of the late Wangari Maathai

When: 12 noon, 12th November 2011

Where: Figgate Park Duddingston Road (near Duddingston Primary), Edinburgh, 70 Duddingston road, EH15 1SW

Speakers: Alison Johnston MSP

Mukami McCrum

Organiser: Mary Njoki (pronounced ‘joki’)

WANGARI Maathai was a Kenyan environmental and political activist.

She was the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree, and in 1970s, founded the Green Belt movement, focusing on environmental conservation and women’s rights.

In 2004, she became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

She went on to become an MP and served as Assistant Minister for Environment and Natural Resources in the government of President Mwai Kibaki between January 2003 and November 2005.

Her passion for the environment has at times led her to be labeled as mad, publicly beaten, imprisoned and humiliated. But she never gave up.

Wangari Maathai has inspired many people from all over the world in planting billions of trees.

This inspiration reached many in Scotland and a small group of women, spearheaded by Mary Njoki, 31, social worker from Edinburgh, started to ask friends from around the world to plant trees in her memory.

The idea spread through social media and before long had grown huge.

Edinburgh City Council and have pledged to provide oak and beech saplings, and have also provided a space in Figgate Park.

Dutch Elm Disease killed previous trees there so this will be welcome eco regeneration for the area.

The response from Edinburgh locals and diverse community members has been fantastic and Mary is now short on trees to plant for the amount of people coming to pay their respects!

Edinburgh is the only city in Scotland who are commemorating Wangari Maathai and her work now Alison Johnston MSP has added the support of the Scottish government, as she will be speaking also.

Maathai inspired Mary Njoki from an early age she always admired courage, selfishness and love of nature.

“Here was a woman willing to shed her own blood to protect her land, just like her forefathers did.”

Contact: Mary Njoki: 0795 819 5375

Laura McCrum: 0789 669 5541

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