One of the 50 Young Innovators of the 2015 Global Landscapes Forum had the opportunity to share his experience of the GLF in The Huffington Post. Pieter Van de Sype, a young landscape professional, described the Youth in Landscapes Initiative as essential part of the Forum. It becomes pretty clear that he enjoyed himself and got valuable insights for his future work at the same time. Here are some of his thoughts:
I am proud to have been involved in this initiative, which combined capacity building for creating innovative ideas with connecting promising youth innovators involved in landscapes: an Ethiopian software engineer who decided to dedicate his life to growing fruit trees that will provide food and income for generations, much more so than volatile code;
a Belgian law student who didn’t know much about the technical details of ecosystem management, who worked together with agricultural engineers to conceptualize an app that involved local people in landscape restoration;
an Environmental Technology student from Thailand jointly presenting a solution for monitoring rights and tenure issues related to deforestation with American and Costa-Rican researchers.
Van de Sype reminded the older generation that “Youth are essential to sustainable development, to addressing climate change and to the evolution of the landscapes they are a part of.” And his arguments are simple and hard to argue with:
They are energetic and can provide very different, fresh, innovative ideas that help building solution to wicked problems that are becoming increasingly difficult to solve with business-as-usual kinds of methods. They are very familiar with the advances in technology and communications which are becoming ever more important in every aspect of life throughout the world. Last but not least, they can remind more experienced professionals – who just might have become a bit more cynical – of their original drive and motivation.
Find out more about the Youth in Landscapes Initiative