Meet youth session facilitator: Hannah LoRene Smith

This article posts during GLF 2014. See in English | Espanol


Hannah LoRene Smith - GLF youth facilitator
Hannah LoRene Smith – GLF youth facilitator

Hannah LoRene Smith will be facilitating a discussion at the youth session on landscapes and the green economy.

Learn more about the GLF youth session here! If you will be attending COP20 in Lima, build you professional skills and knowledge by attending the youth masterclasses.

I’ve always been one to push boundaries and ask questions.  When I was younger, my father told me “in order to change the rules, you must play by the rules”.  Taking this advice, my decisions in life have led me away from a “traditional” or “ordinary” life and set me on a path of adventure and discovery.  In addition to the people around me, the environment has become one of the greatest teachers in my life, and I work to preserve its beauty and mystery for all those who wish to stop and take a breath.

My interest in the environment started as a child.  I grew up watching the stars, catching tadpoles, swimming freezing rivers, and searching for animals in Idaho, a state in the Northwestern United States.  My interest grew into a passion during my college years, when I spent my weekends roaming the vast deserts of Western Utah searching for treasures of the natural world.  After a summer spent in the Alaskan wilderness, I knew my future lay in conserving the landscapes that have taught and challenged me in order for them to be be shared with other adventurers and future generations.

I followed that affirmation and pursued a Master’s degree in Conservation Leadership.  The program teaches me to think systematically, a mindset useful when considering the complexities of resource scarcity and climate change.  I moved to Madre de Dios, Peru to challenge these new skills and to find solutions to growing threats, like deforestation and illegal resource extraction, in the Amazon Rainforest and other vital landscapes of the world.

To address mounting pressures to global landscapes, my work combines business acumen with conservation science and strategies.  My research in Peru is a market feasibility study for innovative conservation funding. This is only one example of how I construct innovative solutions to problems.  In addition to research, I work with my start-up company, Shift Leadership, bringing top-level leadership training to conservation professionals and climate change scientists around the world.  I also work with researchers from the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) designing youth leadership programs to empower future professionals around the world.

I am interested in integrating environmental ethics into the private sector, so companies will transition into using profit to invest in the beginning of supply chains: forests and people.  I am also interested in agroforestry and the local food movement.  I am passionate about empowering youth and young professionals to be the change they wish to see in the world. My passion and interests are why I applied to be a facilitator at the Global Landscapes Forum in Lima.

I am fascinated with the potential positive impact the private sector has to make on landscapes around the world. Economies and resource demands must adjust in order to adapt to climate change, and I seek opportunities to develop frameworks and solutions that will work for landscapes and people who depend on them.  I hope that being a Youth Facilitator at the Global Landscapes Forum will allow me to understand more of the private sector/conservation conversation, while generating innovative and useful strategies for future application.   I am very excited for this opportunity, and look forward to working and innovating with brilliant minds in December.

Hannah LoRene Smith is 26 years old from Idaho, USA and living in Puerto Maldonado, Peru.

This belongs to a blog series profiling youth and leadership in landscapes. Tell us your youth story – submit blogs to