Wangari Maathai

 In 1977, Wangari Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement in Kenya on a simple idea : more trees were being cut down than were being planted. Soon the great forests would be gone! She began a grassroots movement of women running tree nurseries and then distributing the trees to villages. She has endured harrassment and arrest for taking a stand. When she opposed a construction project to build Africa's tallest skyscraper in Nairobi's main park, the police closed her office and had her beaten. But her movement has been a spectacular success, planting some 10 million trees and spreading to dozen other African countries. She is a recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize,  the "green Nobel Prize." She writes: "The world needs leadership that recognizes the need to care for the world beyond local interests and concerns, beyond national and regional borders, beyond race, religion, gender, culture and class."