In the Green Room

Wangari Maathai, 1940-2011

The Late Nobel Laureate's Interview in Zócalo's Green Room

Wangari Maathai, author of The Challenge for Africa, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her efforts promoting democracy and environmental conservation. The first woman to receive a doctorate degree from East and Central Africa, Maathai launched the Green Belt Movement in 1976. Since then, 20 million trees have been planted. Read more about Maathai below.

Q. What do you wake up to?
A. The work of the day.

Q. What music have you listened to today?
A. None.

Q. What’s your favorite word?
A. Peace.

Q. What do you find beautiful?
A. Trees.

Q. How would you describe yourself in five words or fewer?
A. Environmentalist, human rights activist, woman.

Q. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A. I really didn’t have an impression of what I would like to be. I was unfolding as I grew up.

Q. If you could take only one more journey, where would you go?
A. Antarctica. I have never been there.

Q. What profession would you like to practice in your next life?
A. A health worker.

Q. What is your favorite holiday and why?
A. Christmas. It’s joyful.

Q. What is your fondest childhood memory?
A. Playing with nature, with frogs and tadpoles.

Q. What promise do you make to yourself that you break the most often?
A. To do exercises every day.

Q. What should you throw away but haven’t been able to part with?
A. Weight.

Q. Who is the one person living or dead that you’d most love to meet with?
A. My mother.

To read about Maathai’s talk at Zócalo, click here.

*Photo by Aaron Salcido.