Youth in landscapes



The Youth in Landscapes Initiative unites young innovators (aged 18 – 35) to develop real-world solutions to land use challenges in partnership with organisations working on the ground.

Jose Carlos Martinez Hernandez

Jose Carlos Martinez Hernandez

I am from a small town called Atlautla, it means something like “canyon place” in Nahuatl. I lived near a volcano called Popocatepetl. A cold place with temperate forests and very kind people.

When I was a child I went to the land with my family. We collected fruits and flowers to eat, and I also worked in agriculture and pork production. But for me these were not interesting activities. They were the only activities that I could do.

One, day, while I was sitting on the land, I made an important decision. I watched the mountains and I could see the forests, but in 17 years I could not notice how the forest area decreased, and that´s when I decided to study forest engineering.

University taught me about the technical aspects of forests. I specialized in specific areas but I think that formal education sometimes hinders creativity and imagination.

Fortunately in my life I have interacted with many inspirational people, who are always looking for ways to change the world. Some of them created high schools in rural communities, some live their life breaking social rules, some help indigenous people, among others.  In any way this inspired me to try to do things in a new way.

Since then, I started my professional life by looking for new ways in which people could learn how to manage their forests. After many years of working in this area, I finally understood that, in order to make big changes, you need to connect people’s passions with their dreams. You do not solve their problems, you create tools that they can use to change their reality.

Most important of all, people need to expand their vision. Maybe, like me, they work in agriculture, forestry, or cattle rearing because they do not know more than that. I have worked with young people in many regions in Mexico and they say they do not want to live their parents’ lives, but they also say they don’t want to live a completely modern life. So they ask themselves “what can we do?

I have also worked with women, men and children in rural communities since I was 15 years old. I have failed many times, I have made big mistakes, but I believe all these experiences make a person who always believes in the potential of others. I motivate people to take risks and to change their reality.

For me, working with innovative young people from the world is a big opportunity. At the institution I work in, I am director of the Business Development department. I work with the private sector, the government, universities, landowners and NGO’s. I implement projects in Mexico, and recently started working in other places Latin America as well. I have many experiences that I want to share with others.

For me, the most important thing is for people to know their stories, their dreams, and their passions. My mission is to connect Mexican bachelors with the world. I met a lot of people in the World Forestry Congress and they are starting to interact with Mexican students.

In the future I really believe that a grade will not be necessary because you will learn in a way that you can transform your environment, inspiring others to be a changemakers.

My social media

Youtube channel (with some videos in English): Josekaer

Twiiter: josekaer

Facebook fanpage: JC El Forestal

José Carlos

Jose Carlos Martinez Hernandez is one of the 10 young champions who will work on the “Education” Landscape challenge with Youth program’s partner:  Wageningen UR.

Learn more about the Global Landscapes Forum’s Youth program, meet our 50 youth champions and discover the 5 Landscapes challenges they will take up, in December, in Paris.