Youth are facing two existential crises at once: ecological and climate breakdown. Nearly half of the world’s population is under 25. This means nearly half of the world’s population will live the consequences of climate change without the chance to have a meaningful say on the negotiations which are happening today and are shaping the future.
This is why the recently born (May 2019) initiative Youth4Nature is empowering young people from all over the world to showcase their work on nature-based solutions (NbS) and to advocate for the inclusion of NbS in climate change negotiation, financing and action. Y4N main call based on a 2017 study is, in order to adhere to the 1.5 target by 2030, we need to use nature to deliver up to 30% of the climate solutions and this will require much greater representation in the next round of national targets in 2020. In pursuing climate action, political leaders cannot forget young people and they cannot forget nature.
Youth4Nature has three pillars of work: knowledge-sharing, storytelling and capacity building. Based on Y4N call for stories, they have selected five regional representatives to attend the UN Climate Action Summit. These individuals have shown outstanding achievements on NbS in their communities.
Regional representative Africa – Eujulo Opeyemi | Nigeria
Elujulo is a Nigerian climate and conservation actor. He is the Founder of Youth for the Environment Nigeria, a youth-led initiative that connects youth with nature, and promotes the participation of same in environmental sustainability. He also sits on the board of World Ecological Concepts as a Director, and represents Young Volunteers for the Environment, Nigeria as Program Officer. He holds a B.Sc Degree in Zoology, and M.Sc Environmental Control and Management in view from Obafemi Awolowo University. Elujulo is particularly interested in nature conservation, and hopes for a world where human and nature coexist in harmony.
Regional representative Asia-Pacific – Laura Malkova | Kazakhstan
Laura is a young, enthusiastic environmental professional and trainer that actively promotes environmental issues and proposes solutions to environmental problems, including nature-based solutions. She has an MSc in Chemical Engineering for Energy and Environment from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). Laura is also the Co-Founder of the Association of Practicing Ecologists where she conducts environmental trainings for ecologists and participates in the development of environmental laws and by-laws. Laura often serves as a bridge between ecologists in the enterprises, environmental activists and governmental organisations, actively promoting nature-based solutions during development and review of national environmental laws and by-laws.
Regional representative Eastern Europe – Iris Del Sol | Ukraine
Iris is 23 years old. She was born in a small village in the Carpathian mountains and was always close to the nature, as she is living in a passive wood house in middle of the forest. She studied environmental law in the Law Faculty of Ivan Franko National University (Ukraine). While she was studying her friend called and asked for help. In his village a large ski resort project was announced. In 2017 with a group of friends they created an environmental movement, called Free Svydovets, to protect a wild mountain range in the Carpathian mountains. Now, she has the honor to study environmental law at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne to protect nature for the next generations.
Regional representative Latin America and the Caribbean – Danilo Ignacio de Urzedo | Brazil
Danilo Urzedo is a forester passionate about community-based natural resources management. He is a PhD candidate and tutor in Environmental Geography at The University of Sydney. He has worked within seed networks and restoration projects in the Brazilian Amazon and Savanna to promote local opportunities for indigenous, traditional and rural communities. His research and teaching focus on political ecology, forest landscape restoration and community forestry.
Regional representative Western Europe and others – Amanda Krijgsman | The Netherlands
Amanda is 26 years old and works as a Junior Researcher in Nature-based Solutions at Wageningen University & Research, in the Netherlands. She learned about Nature-based Solutions (NBS) during her BSc & MSc International Land and Water Management. NBS involve people in climate change adaptation in a beautiful way. She believes that NBS elegantly encourage people to think about their environment. Growing awareness may develop and flourish in pro-environmental and climate responsible behavior.
We are not alone, we are dispersed; and together we can achieve great things.