Our greatest weakness is that we give up too easily. To succeed however, we must give it another try… or two.
When the call for youth innovators for this year’s Global Landscapes Forum began to circulate on social media, I was interested yet intimidated. Interested, based on the fact that I liked the idea of working with a diverse team of young, passionate individuals who all had something in common: the conservation of our landscapes. The intimidation however arose when I realised there were thousands of young passionate innovators who could easily be selected and the initiative only required fifty. In spite of my fear of probably not being one of the fifty “most qualified innovators”, I crossed my fingers and started the application.
Attempt # 1: I completed the relevant sections and was halfway through the application when my computer froze and all my responses disappeared. “Well then”, I thought to myself, “I guess I’ll just have to get my computer fixed and try to redo this application.”
Attempt #2: I reluctantly restarted my computer and re-opened the application. This time I pasted each response into a word document (just to be on the safe side). I got further than I did on my first attempt and so I started having this feeling of accomplishment or so I thought. I left my computer and upon returning I realised a younger sibling had accidently closed all my tabs, including that containing the application. “ I guess this might be a sign after all” I shrugged closing the lid of my computer but a particular quote kept resonating in my mind and so I decided to give it “one last try”.
Fast forward to today, I am happy that I didn’t give up on the first or second attempt as I would not have had the honour of being selected as a youth innovator as part of the Education team. Already I have started interacting with some team members, which already gives a clear indication of how interactive and engaging the experience will be in December.
My interest in the Education challenge was sparked based on my current MPhil/Ph.D. research which seeks to showcase the importance of effective communication mechanisms in facilitating mitigation and adaptation in the face of climate variability. For us to effectively engage individuals in adaptation, we must utilise effective mediums to garner their interest and one such method I have been exposed to, is social learning where persons are seen as ‘active agents of change’ rather than mere ‘absorbers of information’. If utilised effectively, such methods may foster empowerment through improvements in social capital as a result of increased co-operation within different rural communities. Besides my academic pursuits, I am also a member of the Jamaica Geographical Society, the Caribbean Youth Environmental Network, the CSA Youth Network and the Bamboo in Soil Restoration Working Group.
In a world plagued by cyclical challenges, forums such as these provide an opportunity for integrated efforts at tackling common issues and I look forward to working on the Landscapes Academy Challenge as the lessons learnt will provide useful insights for us as a team and also as individuals who are interested in different aspects of our landscapes and their conservation. Thus, I expect that this opportunity will not only empower me but also the thoughts and experiences garnered will make me more equipped to contribute to the discussion of creating a more sustainable environment for future generations.
Jhannel Tomlinson is one of the 10 young champions who will work on the “Education” Landscape challenge with Youth program’s partner: Landscapes for People, Food and Nature , Wageningen UR , EcoAgriculture Partners , World AgroForestry Center .