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Wangari Maathai by photographer Martin Rowe

Kenyan environmentalist and activist Wangari Maathai had a simple but ingenious strategy: To pay women to plant trees to solve both unemployment and deforestation. Her Green Belt Movement is responsible for planting more than 30 million trees across Africa and empowering more than 900,000 women, according to the United Nations.

She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 and passed away late Sunday at age 71 after battling cancer. Read The New York Times account here.

Read our World Ark interview with Maathai in our September/October 2008 issue where she answers the question "What is the solution to world hunger and poverty?"

Click here to donate to the Green Belt Movement's memorial fund to continue Maathai's extraordinary work around the world.


Donna Stokes

Donna Stokes is the managing editor of World Ark magazine. She has worked for Heifer International since September 2008 when she leaped over to the nonprofit world from a two-decade career in newspaper journalism.