Wangari Maathai

Who is Wangari Maathai? The informational text from BBC News highlights the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. This list reveals some facts about a life dedicated to preserving the environment and uplifting poor women both locally and globally.

Here are all the word lists to support the reading of Grade 8 Unit 3's texts from SpringBoard's Common Core ELA series: Night, First They Came for the Communists, Terrible Things, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, The Diary of a Young Girl, Elie Wiesel Speech, Do Something!, Wangari Maathai, Freerice.com, Public Service Announcements, Famine as a Weapon
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definitions & notes only words
  1. sustainable
    capable of being prolonged
    The first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize (2004) was praised by the awarding committee as "a source of inspiration for everyone in Africa fighting for sustainable development, democracy and peace."
  2. pioneer
    take the lead or initiative in
    A pioneering academic, her role as an environmental campaigner began after she planted some trees in her back garden.
  3. curtail
    place restrictions on
    This inspired her in 1977 to form an organization--primarily of women--known as the Green Belt Movement aiming to curtail the devastating effects of deforestation and desertification.
  4. erosion
    condition in which the earth's surface is worn away
    Her desire was to produce sustainable wood for fuel use as well as combating soil erosion.
  5. mobilize
    make ready for action or use
    Her campaign to mobilize poor women to plant some 30 million trees has been copied by other countries.
  6. resource
    aid or support that may be drawn upon when needed
    "It took me a lot of days and nights to convince people that women could improve their environment without much technology or without much financial resources."
  7. campaign
    exert oneself continuously or vigorously to gain an end
    The Green Belt Movement went on to campaign on education, nutrition, and other issues important to women.
  8. prominent
    conspicuous in position or importance
    In the late 1980s, she became a prominent opponent of a skyscraper planned for the middle of the Kenyan capital's main park--Uhuru Park.
  9. vilify
    spread negative information about
    She was vilified by Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi's government but succeeded in thwarting the plans.
  10. unconscious
    lacking awareness and the capacity for sensory perception
    Once was beaten unconscious by heavy-handed police.
  11. demonstration
    a public display of group feelings
    On another occasion she led a demonstration of naked women.
  12. coalition
    an organization of people involved in a pact or treaty
    But in elections in 2002, she was elected as MP with 98% of the votes as part of an opposition coalition which swept to power after Mr. Moi stepped down.
  13. analogy
    drawing a comparison in order to show a similarity
    Mrs. Maathai says she usually uses a biblical analogy of creation to stress the importance of the environment.
  14. holistic
    emphasizing the organic relation between parts and the whole
    The Nobel Peace Prize committee praised her for taking "a holistic approach to sustainable development that embraces democracy, human rights and women's rights in particular."
  15. remark
    make or write a comment on
    Her former husband, whom she divorced in the 1980s, was said to have remarked that she was "too educated, too strong, too successful, too stubborn and too hard to control."
Created on September 15, 2015 (updated September 15, 2015)

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