In 1977, Wangari Maathai formed the Green Belt Movement, an organization that paid poor women to plant trees. The movement started in Kenya and soon spread throughout Africa. The simple act of planting a tree not only helped improve the local environment of the people but also empowered women in Africa. They became the keepers of the environment and found a way to stand up for their rights and the rights of their communities. Wangari showed the world how environment, poverty, and peace go hand in hand. In 2004, Wangari became the first black woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.