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Wangari Maathai: A Seed of Hope that Grew

Special feature by Rosie MacLeod ‘The environment is the water we drink, the air we breathe. We cannot live without it.’ – Wangari Maathai. [1]   When questioned about the documentation of history and knowledge, Margaret Atwood famously described the past as ‘largely made of paper’[2] and the librarians and archivists as its ‘guardians’.[3] However, if you went to rural Kenya, you would see that the past, present and future is composed of and dependent on trees. Its guardian, responsible for planting 51 million of these, is Wangari Maathai (1940-2011). She described her tree planting revolution as ‘planting…a legacy for our children as our ancestors left us.’[4] How would you react if you could see the beautiful countryside in which you …

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