Wangari Maathai Dies at 71 / by Cyrus

The great Kenyan environmentalist/women's rights advocate Wangari Maathai has died at age 71. She was beloved throughout Africa for her Green Belt movement, which pays women small amounts of money to plant trees. In 2004, she became the first African woman to win the Nobel Prize.

She suffered jail-time, beatings and gender discrimination, but she helped thousands and is responsible for millions of trees throughout the continent. The New York Times quotes her saying: “In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground."

I don't know if the Conscious Youths were familiar with this quote when they named their band. They're definitely more into smoking trees than planting them, but its a testament to her legacy that these toughened rastas from Kisumu's slums wrote one of their best songs about her. Here's "Conserve de Trees" by Kisumu's Conscious Youths, in honor of Mama Maathai.

Conscious Youths - Conserve de Trees (Kenya Reggae) by RawMusicInternational

Conscious Youths say: "Conserve de trees/Plant more trees/That's what Wangari Maathai always a-preach"