Mr. Speaker, it was with great sadness that I learned of the death yesterday of Wangari Maathai, the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
An advocate for environmental protection, democracy and women's rights in Africa, this great lady from Kenya was able to turn words into action all her life.
Ms. Maathai established the Green Belt Movement, which planted 30 million trees in order to combat soil erosion.
She was also the co-chair of the Congo Basin Forest Fund, established to protect the second-largest rainforest in the world, which plays an important role in the fight against climate change.
Ms. Maathai believed that the future of the human race is inextricably tied to respect for and the preservation of our environment, and that it is possible to protect forests and pursue sustainable economic development at the same time.
I invite the House to salute and pay tribute to the memory of an exemplary pioneer who was known as “the woman who planted trees”.