As a young professional working in the field of landscape restoration, I find myself often explaining to my friends, family, or total strangers for that matter, explaining what it is I do. Although I always get very positive feedback – gosh, that sounds so interesting – most of the time people still don’t really understand what it is I do. So next time we would be discussing my work, they would say “You’re doing something to do with sustainability right, something about clean energy?”.
And although I keep patiently explaining, that what we work on goes much further than combating climate change, I can’t really blame them for not understanding. Working in the landscape approach requires a holistic understanding of the landscape and such specific knowledge that I can understand how are easily lost when explained the landscape approach for the first time.
It was therefore such a delight for me, to be meeting up with 50 peers from all over the world that are all working one way or another with the landscape approach. Although we all had our individual qualities, experience and knowledge, we also had this thing in common, you don’t have in common with a lot of my peers back home.
So apart from getting to know each other and having fun together, working with this group of talented individuals was a great pleasure. I could have spent much more time with my group mates, to understand each other’s perspectives and learn from each other. As part of the Landscape Restoration group, we worked on solving a challenging issue regarding gender, data collection and adaptive ecosystem restoration in the Nile River basin.
Although we were facing limited time, the pace at which we were able to work and tackle important issues, was simply astonishing, which makes me wonder how far a team like ours could come on solving these very real issues, when more time would be available.
It is therefore with great pleasure that we have decided to develop our solution further, although the official Youth In Landscapes program has ended with the Dragon’s Den pitch. We have developed a concept note for our solution and will be actively seeking support for our solution, which is called Land. Please find this concept note attached, and don’t hesitate to contact me or any of my team members in case you have any helpful comments, suggestions or questions in general.
I’m very curious about the journey ahead of us with this great idea. However, regardless of how far we can bring Land, meeting my group members, and all the other participants from the Youth In Landscapes Initiative has been a real personal win for me already, to which I am very grateful to the organisation of the Youth In Landscapes Initiative. I know now, that no matter which direction the wind will blow me, whether I am in Rwanda, the Philippines, Costa Rica or Colombia, I will always be able to team up with these amazing individuals that I was able to get to know during our week together in Paris.
Attachment: Land concept note pdf
Daan Jochem Groot 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.