TAKING ROOT: THE VISION OF WANGARI MAATHAI tells the inspiring story of the Green Belt Movement of Kenya and its founder Wangari Maathai, the first environmentalist and first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
The U.S.- educated Professor Maathai discovered her life's work by reconnecting with the rural women with whom she had grown up. Their lives had become intolerable: they were walking longer distances for firewood, clean water was scarce, the soil was disappearing from their farms, and their children were suffering from malnutrition. Maathai thought to herself, "Well, why not plant trees?" She soon discovered that tree planting had a ripple effect of empowering change. Countering the devastating cultural effects of colonialism, Maathai began teaching communities about self-knowledge as a path to change and community action. The women worked successively against deforestation, poverty, ignorance, embedded economic interests, and violent political oppression. They became a national political force that helped to bring down Kenya's 24-year dictatorship.
Through TV footage and chilling first person accounts, TAKING ROOTdocuments the dramatic confrontations of the 1980s and '90s as the women of the Green Belt Movement confront human rights abuses and environmental degradation. Cinema verité footage of the tree nurseries and the women and children who tend them brings to life the confidence and joy of people working to improve their own lives on their terms.
TAKING ROOT captures a world-view in which nothing is perceived as impossible and presents an awe-inspiring profile of Maathai's unstoppable and courageous thirty-year journey to protect the environment, defend human rights, and promote democracy.