‘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.
‘Together we have planted over 30 million trees that provide fuel, food, shelter and income….’
Wangari Maathai, in her Nobel Prize acceptance speech speaks about the importance of planting trees. Draft a speech to be delivered in your school assembly highlighting the importance of tree planting on 5th June, World Environment Day. (Score: 8)
- We pollute our water bodies by dumping garbage and plastic materials. It is high time we stopped such activities. Imagine that you are the secretary of the Youth Club in your locality. Prepare a letter to the editor of a daily highlighting the threat caused by the dumping of plastic materials in rivers and streams. (Score: 8)
- The Environment Club of your school is organising a trekking trip to Silent Valley. What are the instructions that you, as the secretary of the club will give to your teammates before starting the trip? Write three instructions. (Score: 3)
- The Agriculture Club of your school organises a meeting on Chingam 1 to honour a veteran farmer of the locality. You are asked to introduce him to the audience. Draft the speech. You may use the hints given.
[Hints : Karshakothama award winner Velayudhan Nair – developed own methods of organic farming – reduced use of pesticides – natural fertilizers – conserved soil – a diverse variety of crops – created awareness on dangers of chemicals used on crops – maximum production with minimum and simple natural methods – lover of nature] (Score: 6)
- Imagine that a vast area of paddy fields in your locality was filled up by a construction company for executing a villa project. Prepare an article to be published in a newspaper on the negative impact of filling up paddy fields. You may use the hints given below.
[Hints : paddy fields – a complete eco system — streams around the fields – home to micro-organisms – filling of land required to construct buildings – living beings like storks, fish, tadpoles etc. affected] (Score: 8)
- ‘As I was growing up, I witnessed forests being cleared and replaced by commercial plantations, which destroyed local bio-diversity and the capacity of forests to conserve water’, says Wangari Maathai. You must have come across newspaper reports on mass destruction of forests. Write an essay on the impact of deforestation. (Score: 8)
- A notice on the activities of the Environment Club of your school was prepared by Anu. There are some errors in the matter. Edit it.
Many activities has been organised by our Environment Club this year. The club plan to conduct a seminar on water conservation next month. Interested members are requested for send the sinopsis of their papers. Kindly register your names at the earlier.
- Some news headlines and leads are given below.
Tree Walk in the city :
Take a walk to save trees
Trivandrum 6 th November, Sunday
:Tree lovers of Trivandrum organised Tree Walk from Vellayambalam to Pettah to protect trees.
Tree Walk in defence of Green Cover
Members of Tree Walk, Trivandrum express concern over the decision to cut down trees.
Tree Walk organised to protect trees
Trivandrum: An informal venture of tree lovers in the city, Tree Walk conducted a walk on Saturday, the 5th of November.
Let’s go green says the Tree Walk Club
Tree Walk Trivandrum calls for immediate action against cutting down of trees. Renowned poet SugathaKumari was present for the flag off ceremony.
Prepare a newspaper report based on the information given above. (Score: 8)
- Imagine that you are visiting the Kallar Eco tourism Project as part of a field trip conducted by the Forest Club of your school. Before entering the forest area, you meet the officer in charge to enquire about the rules, security measures etc. Write the likely conversation. (Score: 6)
- A river that flows through your village is contaminated because of human waste and dumping of garbage. Draft an e-mail to the editor of a leading national daily, highlighting this issue. (Score: 6)
- Prepare a profile of Wangari Maathai using the hints given below.
Wangari Maathai – born 1st April, 1940 -Kenyan environmental and political activist
F ounded Green B elt Movement
Planting of trees, environmental conservation and women’s rights
Right to Livelihood Award – 1986
The first African woman to receive the Nobel Prize – 2004
Died – 25th September, 2011
- Imagine that you are the editor of your school blog. Prepare a blog entry on how the Environment Club of your school developed a garden of medicinal plants. (Score: 6)
- Christine Lagarde and Wangari Maathai spoke about women empowerment from two different perspectives. Who among these impressed you the most? Justify your answer in a paragraph. (Score: 5)
- A debate is conducted by the English Club of your school on the topic ‘Environment is not important when it comes to development.’ Imagine that you are one of the debaters opposing the topic. Write your argument in a paragraph. There should be at least four points. (Score: 4)
- The Nature Club of your school decides to cultivate food crops in a space available in the school campus. Prepare a brief write-up of about 100 words to be included in a pamphlet emphasizing the need to cultivate food crops and develop farming as a culture. (Score: 5)
- Imagine that you visited a sanctuary as part of a study tour organised by your school. Prepare a report of your trip to be published in the school magazine. (Score: 5)
“Throughout Africa, women are the primary caretakers, holding significant responsibility for tilling the land and feeding their families. As a result, they are often the first to become aware of environmental damage as resources become scarce and they are incapable of sustaining their families.”
Wangari Maathai recounts about the women of Africa like this. Identify the needs of the present day women and compare it with the women of Kenya at the time of Wangari Maathai. (Score: 5)
- Read the following excerpt and answer the questions that follow.
“My inspiration comes from my childhood experiences and observations of nature in rural Kenya. As I was growing up, I witnessed forests being cleared and replaced by commercial plantations, which destroyed local biodiversity and the capacity of the forests to conserve water.”
- What inspired Wangari Maathai to become an environmentalist?
- What was the impact when forests were replaced by commercial farming?
- What does ‘biodiversity’ mean?
“Later, they became aware of the widespread destruction of the ecosystems, especially through deforestation. Climatic instability and contamination of the soil and waters – all contributed to excruciating poverty and subsequent riots.”
- Who are referred to as ‘they’ here?
- What was the chief cause of the destruction of ecosystem?
- What contributed to excruciating poverty and subsequent riots?
- What does the word ‘excruciating’ mean?
[i. challenging ii. agonizing iii. alleviating iv. reducing]
- Imagine that you have won the ‘Student Excellence Award’ from your school. The award is given on the basis of the student’s character and performance in both curricular and co-curricular activities. After having received the award, you are expected to deliver an Award acceptance speech. Draft the speech. (Score: 8)
- 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
- 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.
- 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]
- 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.]