On the Passing of Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai

09/26/2011 01:40 pm ET | Updated Nov 26, 2011

It is with great sadness that I learned today of Wangari Maathai's passing. Wangari overcame incredible obstacles to devote her life to service -- service to her children, to her constituents, to the women, and indeed all the people of Kenya -- and to the world as a whole.

Wangari was a warm and devoted mother and I send my condolences to her family. She worked tirelessly both as an elected Member of Parliament and an Assistant Minister for Environment and Natural Resources. She forged new ground for women in Kenya helping shatter what we would call the "glass ceiling" in the United States. And, she found her true passion as the founder of the Greenbelt Movement.

As the first environmentalist and first African woman to earn the Nobel Peace Prize, Wangari served as a true inspiration to us all.

Cross-posted from Al's Journal.