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.

Renata Lozano

Even though I grew up in one of the biggest cities in the world, Mexico City, I’ve had the amazing opportunity of living in a wonderful forest. This forest has been the main inspiration and motivation of my life and work. I’ve witnessed nature’s greatness in this place, but also complex dilemmas that have threatened the landscape. In Mexico, human beings and the environment have coexisted under constant competition. The consequence of this relation has been a radical depletion of natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystems, and therefore an increase in poverty and inequality.

Since an early age, I refused to perpetuate this relation and tried to find solutions in order to tackle this problem. Nevertheless, what appears obvious and logical to me isn’t yet understood by many. How do you make others realize that aligning economic growth and development within the ecological boundaries is not only a good choice, but rather the only alternative? I’ve struggled with this question most of my life and even though I’ve been able to partially answer it, my personal aim is to contribute with solutions as much as possible until we no longer have the need to ask ourselves this question.

I first joined the environmental sector with very high hopes and was deeply excited to work with people that shared the same interest. Unfortunately, sharing the same interest was not enough as I realized that generally people lacked optimism and willingness to transform the sector. Being the youngest employee in all of my former jobs, I couldn’t lose the eagerness for change. I won’t lie, this has been extremely difficult, but how could I give up when there are so many great and successful efforts done so far?

When I joined Reforestamos México, I was inspired again by a talented and interdisciplinary team. I started to work in the Landscape Restoration Strategy in the Peninsula of Yucatan with very aspiring goals, including contributing to Mexico’s commitment to restore 8.5 million hectares of deforested and degraded lands by 2020 under the Bonn Challenge. Indeed this government pledge is a huge step towards landscape restoration, nevertheless, it remains to be seen the lobbying for the implementation among the variety of stakeholders.

As a means to achieve this commitment we are working in a highly deforested region in Mexico, the Peninsula of Yucatán, here we are identifying prospective communities and producers for private investment and engaging with different types of financing such as national and international banks, national companies and even local governments. All this with the objective of bridging the gap between rural land owners, producers and private and public banking investment platforms, in order to enable the transition towards agroforestry systems.

There’s no time to waste! As time passes by, more and more young people are leaving the forests to find better opportunities in the cities. This migration is a great loss to my country as we are not able to guarantee the well being of the communities that live directly from the forests, and as a result of this, economic pressures are the greatest driver of deforestation. For me, Global Landscapes forum 2015 is a unique space for motivated and creative solutions that can effectively address landscape issues, based on a wide range of international successful experiences. Can’t wait to meet the rest of the team!

Renata Lozano

Renata Lozano is one of the 10 young champions who will work on the “Finance and Trade” Landscape challenge with Youth program’s partner: Livelihoods Venture

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.