The Great Green Wall is one of the most inspirational and urgent movements of our times. Find out how you can support this amazing movement – and why it matters.
One of my father’s dear friends was the late Professor Wangari Maathai, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. For her contribution to “sustainable development, democracy and peace.”
She authored four books: The Green Belt Movement; Unbowed: A Memoir; The Challenge for Africa; and Replenishing the Earth.
More significantly, she was the founder of the Greenbelt Movement which has helped climate resilient communities through the restoration and protection of forest watersheds, and the creation of sustainable livelihoods for communities in Kenya and across Africa.
The impacts of which are already being witnessed across Africa, through food security and water harvesting activities and planting the appropriate trees.
She inspired both myself, my family and millions of Africans by shining light on the environmental impact of development and the importance of sustainable living.
Over time the Greenbelt Movement has led to the protection of natural forests and community rights, especially communities living close to and in forest ecosystems in sub-Saharan Africa and the Congo Basin Rainforest Ecosystem.
The Great Green Wall draws ideas from the Green Belt philosophy – and is also African-led movement with an epic ambition to grow an 8,000km natural wonder of the world across the entire width of Africa.
A decade in and roughly 15% underway, the initiative is already bringing life back to Africa’s degraded landscapes at an unprecedented scale, providing food security, jobs and a reason to stay for the millions who live along its path.
The Wall promises to be a compelling solution to the many urgent threats not only facing the African Continent, but the global community as a whole – notably climate change, drought, famine, conflict and migration.
Taking root in Africa’s Sahel region, at the southern edge of the Sahara desert – one of the poorest places on the planet, the Great Green Wall will be the largest living structure on the planet, 3 times the size of the Great Barrier Reef.
More than anywhere else on Earth, the Sahel is on the frontline of climate change and millions of locals are already facing its devastating impact. Persistent droughts, lack of food, conflicts over dwindling natural resources, and mass migration to Europe are just some of the many consequences.
Yet, communities from Senegal in the West to Djibouti in the East are fighting back.
Since the birth of the initiative in 2007, life has started coming back to the land, bringing improved food security, jobs and stability to people’s lives.
More than just trees
The Great Green Wall isn’t just for the Sahel. It is a global symbol for humanity overcoming its biggest threat – our rapidly degrading environment.
It shows that if we can work with nature, even in challenging places like the Sahel, we can overcome adversity, and build a better world for generations to come.
More than just a regeneration effort, the Great Green Wall is transforming the lives of millions of people in the Sahel region.
The Great Green Wall makes a vital contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (known as the SDGs), aa global agenda which aims to achieve a more equitable and sustainable world by 2030, by growing:
- A new world wonder across the entire width of Africa.
- Fertile land, one of humanity’s most precious natural assets.
- A wall of hope against abject poverty.
- Food security, for the millions that go hungry every day.
- Health and wellbeing for the world’s poorest communities.
- Improved water security, so women and girls don’t have to spend hours everyday fetching water.
- Gender equity, empowering women with new opportunities.
- Sustainable energy, powering communities towards a brighter future.
- Green jobs, giving real incomes to families across the Sahel.
- Economic opportunities to boost small business and commercial enterprise
- A reason to stay to help break the cycle of migration.
- Sustainable consumption patterns, to protect the natural capital of the Sahel.
- Resilience to climate change in a region where temperatures are rising faster than anywhere else on Earth.
- A symbol of peace in countries where conflict continues to displace communities.
- Strategic partnerships to accelerate rural development across Africa
- A symbol of interfaith harmony across Africa.
To learn more about the Great Green Wall, to sign the pledge of support and/or to give to this fantastic movement, please visit https://www.greatgreenwall.org/
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