ELA 4: Wangari Maathai Biography

Wangari has shown us that it just takes one person to make a real difference in the world. Deforestation? Start planting trees. Hunger? Start planting fruit trees. Too many trees? Start planting...nothing. Nailed it.

4th GradeLanguage Arts
Elementary and Middle School4th Grade
LanguageEnglish Language

Transcript

00:26

to win a Nobel Peace Laureate.

00:28

Why stop at one major accomplishment if you can have two? [Wangari pointing to her awards on a shelf]

00:32

That's how we live our lives, too! Except…we swap in "chocolate chip cookie" for "major

00:36

accomplishment."

00:37

She grew up in Kenya, moved to the United States, and graduated as a biologist from [Wangari holding a plant with a biology degree]

00:41

Mount St. Scholastica College in Kansas at the age of 24.

00:45

Then she returned to Kenya, and saw that her home was suffering from deforestation, which

00:49

is when trees are cleared, transforming forests into cleared land. [Coop discussing deforestation]

00:52

So, Wangari motivated the poor women in her home to do something about it: she had them

00:57

plant trees.

00:58

Sounds easy, huh? [Digger appears on deforested land]

00:59

And even though people tried to stop her, Wangari never gave up. She continued to encourage

01:03

others with her persistence, positive attitude, and super-cool name.

01:07

And this story has a happy ending! Over 35 million trees were planted and the area where [Bird-eye view of trees in a forest]

01:12

Wangari lived has become green and lush all over again. So take that, deforestation.

01:17

Wangari also helped people see that small actions matter and, if you're really passionate [Young boy holding dirty pants and socks]

01:21

about something, you can make a difference.

01:24

Yup, you. You right there, watching this video. You can make a difference.

01:29

And even though she didn't do it for the glory, Wangari received several honors and awards [Wangari holding several awards]

01:32

anyway, as she should have. So what can we learn from Wangari's experiences?

01:36

Well, let's think about the steps that Wangari and her fellow Kenyans followed to come up

01:40

with their action plan.

01:41

First, they discussed the problem: deforestation. [Coop talking about Wangari's action plan]

01:44

Then they found a solution: plant some trees.

01:46

They learned the steps necessary and the materials they would need: tree seeds, water, dirt,

01:51

and poop.

01:52

We’re not even joking with that one. Gardening is messy work. [Father and son gardening]

01:55

Sometimes they had to adapt their plan. They didn't always have the materials they needed

01:58

and the work was really hard, but they persevered.

02:02

These steps aren't just useful for solving issues of deforestation. Apply these general

02:06

steps to a problem you see in your community and, as unbelievable as it might seem, you [Man falls off edge of a cliff]

02:10

might just make the world a better place.

02:12

Just…maybe leave the "poop" step out, if you're working in a soup kitchen, or something…