"In 1977, when we started the Green Belt Movement, I was partly responding to needs identified by rural women, namely lack of firewood, clean drinking water, balanced diets, shelter and income."
This quote best explains the issues that Maathai discusses in her speech. She explains how women are the primary caretakers and how commercial plantations have ruined the resources they need in order to take care of their families. Women use the land to to feed and shelter their family, so the destruction of the land makes it harder for these women to take care of their families. Tree planting is the natural and basic resource they need because it provides fuel, food shelter and income to support their children's education and household needs. So, the tree became the symbol for the Democratic struggle in Kenya and a symbol for peace and conflict resolution. Also, what people didn't realize is that trees were not only a mean of life in Kenya, but it is also a part of their culture. For example, their elders used staffs from the trees to prevent them from fighting and seek reconciliation. This issue is important because people do not realize that the environment is also used by other people as a way of life. We try to see if commercial plantation is going to benefit or hurt that nation because we cannot assume that just because it is beneficial to one country it also benefits all countries. We need to consult one's government or research a countries traditions and values before interfering and installing things that we think is helpful or useful. Governments need to work together and agree on certain things before planning out or doing an action. Since the Green Belt Movement started in 1977, over 30 million trees have been planted. Women have been trained in forestry, food processing and other trades that help them earn income while preserving their lands and resources. The communities in Kenya have been motivated and organized to both prevent further environmental destruction and restore that which has been damaged.