Plant a tree of peace today
As the world endeavors to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as set out by the UN, nations are called to mobilize their citizenry to work towards a sustainable planet earth. Peaceful coexistence between nations and communities is a binding factor to ensure achievement of these goals.
SDG number 16, “Promote peaceful and inclusivity of societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”, calls for, among others:
- significantly reducing all forms of violence
- promoting the rule of law at the national and international levels, and ensure equal access to justice for all;
Kenya, being a member party to the UN, is in the forefront in promoting peace for its social, political and economic development as enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 and Vision 2030.
In the words of Professor Wangari Maathai, “the only way in which we can promote peace, is when we have a political and economic system that facilitates that. And then you get into the issues of human rights, economic justice, social justice, and good democratic governance. That's how it ties up.” These words resonate with our national anthem rallying call for peace, love and unity in a country rich in ethnic, cultural and religious diversity.
In the founder’s books, i.e. The Challenge for Africa and Replenishing the Earth, Professor Wangari Maathai sighted culture as a missing link in matters of governance and spirituality. Community elders as custodians of culture were entrusted with using cultural practices to respond to issues threatening peace and cohesion, not only within their respective communities but also fostering peaceful and mutually beneficial co-existence with other neighboring communities.
The Green Belt Movement (GBM) believes that true peace lies in ensuring respect for life and dignity of each human being, a friendly environment, and judicious management of resources including land, water and other natural resources as well as the incomes derived from them. True peace is inclusivity, a desire to participate in the affairs of our country, democracy and governance in order to build a community that is truly united in voice, in actions and in structures.
GBM continues to plant seeds of peace and hope by coordinating our conservation and community building efforts with different communities. One such initiative is our ‘GBM Peace Tent’ campaign aimed at promoting, supporting and celebrating peace in Kenya as we prepare to mark the sixth anniversary since the passing on of our Founder, the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Wangari Maathai.
On August 31, 2017, the Green Belt Movement hosted a peace tree planting activity at the Wangari Maathai Institute of Peace and Environmental Studies (WMI) where 44 trees, each symbolizing our ethnic diversity, were planted. The event was graced by the Principal, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences Prof. G. Kiama, Director WMI Prof. Mutembei, GBM Board Members and staff, GBM tree nursery group members and represenatatives from the Kakamega Forest Heritage Foundation.
The Green Belt Movement is calling upon everyone to promote and support peace in Kenya and also to commemorate the sixth anniversary for the peace icon Professor Maathai. At the same time, we request all community elders to plant 44 trees in their respective areas symbolizing our peaceful co-existence as we have done here today.
“Plant a tree of peace today," said the GBM Chair Elect, Mrs. Marion Kamau.