When a Sapling is Planted (Speech) by Wangari Maathai

‘When a Sapling is Planted’ is the Nobel acceptance speech of Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan environmentalist who began the Green Belt Movement to reforest her country by paying poor women a few shillings to plant trees. She is the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize.
In her speech she strikes at the dangers of commercial farming and mentions her holistic approach to sustainable development that embraces democracy, human rights and women’s rights in particular. Dr. Maathai also tells us how the inspiration for her work came from her upbringing in rural Kenya.

Sample Questions

  1. Read the following excerpt and answer the questions that follow.

    Initially, the work was difficult because they were unaware that a degraded environment leads to a scramble for scarce resources and may culminate in poverty and even conflict.

    • Who is referred to as ‘they’ here?
    • How does a degraded environment lead to poverty?
    • What does the word ‘culminate’ mean?
      (a) aggravate (b) end (c) add (d) solve
  2. Wangari Maathai concludes her Nobel Prize acceptance speech with the following words.

    “The challenge is to restore the home of the tadpoles and give back to our children a world of beauty and wonder.”

    How do you think can you restore the beauty and wonder of the world? Prepare a write-up on your dream project to make this earth a wonderful one, in about 150 words.

  3. You are greatly inspired by the activities of the Green Belt Movement and you decide to launch a similar movement in your school to ensure a green campus. In order to collect more information regarding their activities, you decide to write a letter to the head of the Green Belt Movement. Prepare the letter of enquiry. [Hints: Their activities – websites/books giving details – support given to local units]
  4. Imagine that you have been selected as the student counsellor of the Souhruda Club of your school and you have done your duty well. The co-ordinators of ‘Operation Gurukula Project’ of the District Panchayat are impressed by your services and have decided to honour you for that. Prepare a speech that you can deliver after receiving the honour. [Hints : Gratitude for the honour – explanation of services done – your response to the honour – advice/exhortation to the audience.]

Plus Two English Notes and Question Papers of All Chapters