This farmer saves rivers by planting trees

Our future feels increasingly uncertain. Hope has become a scarce - but essential - commodity. This isn't easy for any of us.

And yet, people across the world are making progress despite the cards they’ve been dealt. Their stories of hope seldom make headlines, but they are just as real. An objective view of the world includes both: the tragic and the hopeful.

I met Naliaka, and heard her story of hope, in a small village in Kenya. She’s a 64-year-old farmer, has raised nine children, and is one of the most successful environmental conservationists I’ve ever met.

Years ago, she realized that the river her community depends on – for cooking, drinking, washing, farming – was endangered. Its surrounding forest was largely cut down. The trees no longer prevented the soil from polluting the river; their roots no longer filtered the water; their leaves and branches no longer attracted the rain. Everything her village had been taking for granted was at stake.

But Naliaka had hope, and acted on it. Together with her friends, and with the support of Ecosia’s local partner, the Green Belt Movement, Naliaka started a nursery. Year after year, she collected seeds, raised saplings, and regrew the forest that has protected her river for centuries.

For a bit of background: the Green Belt Movement, our tree-planting partner in Kenya, was founded by Prof. Wangari Maathai. She was the first African woman to win the Nobel Prize for her political activism and for empowering communities across Kenya to plant trees around critical water sources. For Wangari, tree planting was also about helping people, including the most marginalized, to stand up for their human and environmental rights.

Naliaka was trained by Wangari Maathai; that’s why she knows so much about trees and how they contribute to water security. Thanks to your searches, the Green Belt Movement supports Naliaka’s nursery. Your searches, in other words, are protecting that river. And this global solidarity, this global concern with the future of our planet, is a reason to be hopeful – not just for Naliaka, but for all of us.

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