Nobel Laureate and Environmentalist Wangari Maathai Dies After Long Battle With Cancer

Posted on September 26, 2011

Kenyan environmental activist and campaigner Wangari Maathai has died at age 71. She had fought a long battle with ovarian cancer. Maathai was the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She was the founder of the Green Belt Movement which encouraged the planting of trees across Kenya to create firewood, stop erosion of the landscape and create jobs for women. Her organization has planted 30 million trees since 1977.

Professor Maathi was the first woman to earn a doctorate in East Africa, earning her doctorate in veterinary anatomy at the University of Nairobi. She was a tireless worker for social justice, women's rights and environmental issues. She will be greatly missed. The New York Times has her full obituary here. The AP reports: