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Taking Root

4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 34.95
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Taking Root + Food Inc / Les alimenteurs (Bilingual Edition)
Price For Both: CDN$ 34.53

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When logging devastated Kenyan landscapes, women were left trying to subsist in an inhospitable environment. Firewood, clean water, and fertile soil were scarce. As a result, children were suffering malnutrition. "Well, why not plant trees?" suggested Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai. Seedling by seedling, lives were reclaimed. Taking Root details how Maathai led Kenya's Green Belt Movement composed of women who rallied against deforestation, poverty, embedded economic interests, and government corruption. Together, they became a national political force that helped to bring down Kenya's 24-year dictatorship.


"...proof that one small voice of dissent can shake nations. It's news we need to hear." -- Brian Miles, NASHVILLE SCENE

"A wonderful film, which both informs and inspires in the best of ways." -- Sean Farnell, HOT DOCS

"Lucid, lovingly crafted pic..." -- Ronnie Scheib, VARIETY

"This film exceeds even my high hopes...It proves that courage is contagious." -- Frances Moore Lappé, AUTHOR: GETTING A GRIP; DIET FOR A SMALL PLANET

"Wangari Maatha...is the embodiment and promise of the global environmental justice movement." -- Nehanda Imara, Merritt College

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Most helpful customer reviews
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This video traces the history of Wangari Maathai and includes historical footage depicting Kenya's turbulent colonial and post independent history. A political and ecological activist, Wangari sought justice for the Kenyan people in 3 realms and started the Greenbelt Movement. We stand to learn a lot from this Nobel Peace prize winner who did not allow personal suffering to impede her calling to make a difference for the people of Kenya politically, environmentally, and socially. Inspirational!
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By Sheila McVicar TOP 500 REVIEWER
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This story often narrated in her own voice is very powerful. She taught the womwn around her to plant trees when the loggers were clear-cutting all there trees. This is the one theme that runs through this story and about power greedy men who tried to stop her, assault her and jail her. Recommended for all!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai, considers the life work of the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts at educating rural women about ecology and self-empowerment. Their efforts to revitalize the local landscapes worked successfully against deforestation, poverty, ignorance, embedded economic interests, and violent political oppression.

Prior to watching this documentary I knew a little about Wangari Maathai, but only a little. I knew she was the leader of the Green Belt movement in Kenya, encouraging women to rejuvenate their deforested lands by learning to plant trees. What I didn't realize was that her vision was not merely aimed at ecological restoration, but at empowering people who had become accustomed under colonial rule to accept the status quo and the powers that be. She was no mere "tree hugging liberal" but literally put her life on the line to revitalize her country through education and example. The documentary tells the story of how Maathai grew up in a small village, was educated in the United States and returned with bold ideas only to find that opinionated women were not respected by the existing power structures in Kenya. She fought back in ways that initially didn't seem like fighting: by planting trees. Where there are trees, the earth doesn't erode as easily, and water stays in the ground. More importantly, while planting trees the women were empowered to realize they could make a difference. Eventually, the efforts to preserve land put them in conflict with entrenched political interests, and their successes led, directly and indirectly, to real political impact and change.

The film tells its story effectively.
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