Wangari Maathai was an environmental activist, the late Kenyan Founder of the Green Belt Movement and the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. She is seen here telling her parable of the hummingbird.

This is Wangari’s parable

“One day, a massive fire broke out in the forest, and all the animals, finding the flames coming ever closer, decided to save themselves. They rushed to the edge of the forest and watched, overwhelmed and feeling helpless, as the fire engulfed their home. That is, all animals except one: a hummingbird, who said, “I’m going to do something about the fire!” So, she flew to the nearest stream and scooped up a drop of water in her beak and deposited it on the conflagration. Back and forth she went, over and over, while the larger animals, like the elephant whose trunk could deliver so much more water, stood watching.

She flew from stream to the inferno, tireless and focused, without losing patience or speed. Each time she carried a droplet and let it fall on the flames. In the meantime, as the fire raged, the other animals looked on in amazement and disbelief. Eventually they asked the hummingbird, “What do you think you can do, you are too little?”. Without pausing the hummingbird answered, “I’m doing the best that I can!”

At The Hummingbird Initiative, we will always do “the best that we can”. However, taking this parable further, we believe that with collaboration we can make an even larger difference. If all of those animals, who stood by watching, had helped to carry the water, the flames would have been diminished or the fire might have been extinguished.

If you would like to collaborate with us or feel that you have something to offer, to share your expertise, advice or ideas, please do contact us at: [email protected]