Gabriel Yarlequé will be facilitating a discussion at the youth session on the GLF theme ‘forests, agriculture, mountains and land use in the new climate regime’.
How can I be extraordinary enough to change the world? This question came to my mind on my graduation day. Ever since, I started a journey looking for the right path that will take me there. This is my story.
While doing research on mining practices and deforestation, and writing my Honors Thesis on “Gold mining and land cover change in Madre de Dios, Peru: A remote sensing study using Landsat-5 TM data”, I realized that the majority of the people in Peru are mistaken about the way they perceive the rainforest and manage natural resources. This statement holds true after witnessing how new mining operations in Cajamarca were threatening wetlands and the city’s main sources of water. Back in highschool I used to think that the economic growth of a nation depended upon the amount of natural resources exploited. However, this is not entirely true.
Growth and sustainable development can be achieved if we acknowledge that everything in nature is connected and that our actions have consequences and impacts. Therefore, the development of a nation requires the intellectual capacity and skills of its inhabitants, and their ability to build a society that reconciles humans and the non-human environment – nature. The complexity of the socio-economic and environmental concerns in Peru inspired me to pursue a career in Environmental Science.
Over the past year I’ve been using my GIS skills by working on conservation and stewardship programs managing invasive species, monitoring rivers, trails and inventorying trees to create maps and tell people the current state of their local landscape, as well as providing recommendations for future initiatives. I also had the opportunity to interact with local community members from low income neighborhoods to listen to their social and environmental concerns, and develop initiatives for sustainable living. Finally, I was lucky enough to lead to environmental workshops at a summer camp and teach kids, through games, the importance of our environment. I discovered that regardless of peoples’ age, communication is the key component to understanding and learning from each other. It is for that reason that I hope to meet and work with young people to learn, listen and share, so that together we can develop smart, creative and nature-based recommendations and potential solutions to current environmental and conservation challenges. I hope that in the near future we can be ready to replicate our work and re-think contingency plans at the local and global level.
I am from Peru, however I have been away for more than 8 years. Being abroad changed the perception I had about the world and the people around me. The world is a place full of discoveries, problems and also potential solutions. When I think about our role in this world, I see global citizens, future leaders who have the tools and motivation to innovate and build the future of our global community, through collaboration with others and making decisions that is based on what is good for everyone, not just a particular group.
Nowadays societies depend on the equitable and efficient management of natural resources. Therefore, as future global citizens and competent leaders I hope that after the Global Landscapes Forum we feel inspired to take action and re-think the way we manage our resources, the way we view the land and how we, as stakeholders, are related to it. In order to evaluate our world, we need to evaluate ourselves. With all of us coming together, we have the potential and resources to think outside of the box, transform our own thinking and envision how things can actually be improved. This is how we can be extraordinary enough to understand different scenarios, build the skills, visualize the outcomes, create opportunities, modify the design and challenge the world. We have found our passion, let’s keep walking!
This belongs to a blog series profiling youth and leadership in landscapes. Tell us your youth story – submit blogs to [email protected]