The Little Things

DailyFeats by DailyFeats | October 27th, 2011 | 1 Comment
topic: Green Living, Personal Growth

President Obama and Wangari MaathaiKenyan environmental activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Wangari Maathai wouldn’t suffer a single tree to be cut down for her coffin; her body was laid to rest in a casket made of hyacinth, papyrus and bamboo. At her funeral service this September in Nairobi’s Uhuru Park, which she fought to save from obliteration by a 60-story skyscraper, her family planted a tree in her honor. That brings her total up to roughly thirty million and one.

As the founder of the Green Belt Movement — a reforestation project that paid impoverished Kenyan women to plant seedlings in order to renew the environment and increase their access to firewood and clean water — Maathai was responsible for the growth of some 30 million trees. Her battle with ovarian cancer ended on September 26; since then, environmentalists, feminists, and democracy advocates have voiced their grief and admiration.

Maathai believed in the value of small actions. She said, “It’s the little things citizens do. That’s what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees.” The statement is certainly a humble over-simplification of her impact: Among other accomplishments, Maathai was the first female Chair of the Department of Veterinary Biology at the University of Nairobi and was elected to Kenya’s parliament with 98% of the vote. But the idea that sweeping positive change can start with “the little things” — actions as small as the planting of a seed — is an incredibly important one.

Maathai’s seeds of change grew into significant gains for Africa, for women and for peace. Her example is an inspiration to remain conscious, every day, of the transformative power small actions can have. Following in Wangari Maathai’s footsteps, we can, little by little, improve our lives and heal our world.

If Professor Maathai’s work has inspired you to make a positive impact on the environment, try “checking in” one of Gaiam’s earth-friendly sponsored feats. If you find time to choose organic products or compost today, you can earn rewards while you protect the planet.

Gaiam and DailyFeats, a website and app that helps you do good things, every day, for health and happiness, have teamed up to reward you for sharing inspiration. DailyFeats is inspired by the life of Professor Wangari Maathai, and encourages you to share your inspiration.

Feature photo: © Fredrick Onyango from Nairobi, Kenya (, via Wikimedia Commons


  1. Kitil farm is a licensed open quarantine which operates in Kenya. We grow bamboo seedlings from seed. The solid bamboo, Oxytenanthera abyssinica also called lowland bamboo. Very robust plants that withstand any constrain that hinder growth. This can strengthen institutions for the wise management of the environment and
    integrate economic development and environmental protection.

    Kitil farm | January 26th, 2012 | Comment Permalink

Post a Comment

If you want to show your picture with your comment, go get a gravatar!