Breaking down mind barriers to think landscape

GLFCOP21 Youth in Landscapes scavenger hunt Picture credit: Youth in Landscapes initiative (YIL)

GLFCOP21 Youth in Landscapes scavenger hunt. Picture credit: Youth in Landscapes initiative (YIL)

Now that I am back to my homeland, it seems to me that having been in Paris was a dream, but a dream come true. All my expectations were fulfilled, since the host country: culture, people, landscape, food; to the entire days advocated to solve the challenge and much more importantly, meet and work with those amazing people from all around the world.

But the most outstanding output of this experience was, that I could see the cultural diversity working in all its magnificence. It was magic, how in just four days, we arrived to an innovative solution and that we could experience the power of teamwork and the youth. Although, there were tough times –where we were lost, like going in circles- we always found the courage and the best way to continue. I can say that all we learnt during the workshop and webinars paid off and even more, the team work.

Someone may ask, how a youth economist, lawyer, software developer-for instance- can contribute to find solutions when it comes to landscape issues. I can answer with all the confidence that everybody has something valuable to contribute, because we all are in a landscape, somehow shaping and modifying it. Above all, youth always have something worthy to say, which should not be left for tomorrow, as many people say: “the future generation”, but should be empowered to take action in the current world problems.

Pitching at the Dragons Den was another challenge. Being the first time I was involved in pitching, it turned out to be very rewarding and the best experience. With the support of my team, I grabbed this opportunity, because at the end of the day, I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. When I finished the pitch I felt better with lot of confidence and somehow powerful, because it was like a catharsis, where I had to leave behind fears to give the best of myself. And now, whenever I  may feel fear to face a difficult situation or problem, I will remember that once I found the courage to speak in front of more than 300 people and a panel of experts. And also, if someone says “it is difficult” I have this story to tell him or her.

The opportunity to work with an interdisciplinary and multicultural group of youth people in landscape, showed me that if we don’t have in mind, let’s say: cultural, religious among some other kinds of barriers, it is not impossible to come up with innovative solutions to landscape issues. The workshop and global landscape forum totally proved that and also that youth people are capable of make positive impacts, as long as they are provided with the best knowledge and tools.

Estefania Ruiz Martínez is one of the 10 young champions who worked on the “ Landscape restoration” challenge with Youth program’s partner: WLE (CGIAR).
Learn more about the Global Landscapes Forum Youth program, meet our 50 youth champions, discover the 5 Landscapes challenges they took up and the solutions they developed and pitched at the Dragon’s Den on 6th December 2015, in Paris.