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.

Katie Minderhoud

How landscapes shape our lives and why it matters to learn more about it!

“So, where are you from?” A frequently asked question in first introductions and a crucial one. Because everyone is part of a landscape, or multiple for that matter. This sense of place is a fundamental part of our identity, our history and culture. But sometimes we are not really aware of this reality or how it came about. A landscape is more than a pretty scenery or a place to visit. It is the environment in which we earn our living, build our homes, grow our food and enjoy free time outdoors. That’s what makes the answer to this one simple question so interesting: “Where are you from?” I am from The Netherlands. That small country in Europe. Yes, the one below sea level.

In today’s modern times, we roam the world online in a virtual reality, escaping time and place with an easy mouse click, or we hop on a train or plane to travel to unknown territories. For the growing number of people who live in urbanized society, life is no longer bound to a piece of land. Global supply chains deliver us food produced in every possible corner of the planet and cheap transport networks for people and products make distances fade away. That is why we need a reminder of the fact that our lives are evermore connected to landscapes.

As a consumer, citizen, traveller and lover of the outdoors, I am aware that our wellbeing fully depends on the careful management of natural resources in many different places around the world. Even if we cannot see these landscapes, we are inextricably linked to the values and resources they provide. It is my mission to bring this message across, to make people more aware of the environment we take for granted. If we learn to understand better how landscapes shape our lives, we might also become better in taking responsibility to shape these landscapes sustainability towards the future.

Movers and shakers, landscape shapers!

We are the music-makers,

And we are the dreamers of dreams,

Wandering by lone sea-breakers,

And sitting by desolate streams;

World-losers and world-forsakers,

On whom the pale moon gleams:

Yet we are the movers and shakers

Of the world for ever, it seems

(By Arthur O’Shaughnessy (1844–1881)

Katie Minderhoud Collecting wood_Zanzibar

Katie Minderhoud 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.