As scientists gather in Kyoto this weekend for the 49th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Global Landscapes Forum will bring more than 40 speakers to the same city to discuss new ways to tackle the challenge of climate change. From farmers to scientists to Indigenous rights activists, they reflect the diverse set of people who will contribute their ingenuity, expertise and passion to the construction of a resilient and climate-smart future. Four of them took the time to share some inspiration with us ahead of the big event.
Fijian activist and GLF Kyoto 2019 youth competition winner
How can we young people be expected to become the leaders of the future when our future is already at stake? Now is the time for us to take a stand and voice out our concerns. There really isn’t any time left for us to wait, and we cannot rely on world leaders to make every decision for us.
Climate education is one of most important tools we can use to get this message across. Young people are natural innovators, consumers and voters, and they have the power to put pressure on businesses to act responsibly and make politicians pay attention. We need to engage them in discussions to show them avenues that they can pursue and motivate them to make meaningful impacts within their communities.
Young people need to be empowered to use our ideas to create an innovative, sustainable future for all.
Farmer and chairperson of the Osukura United Women Network, Uganda
How can women specifically help the planet and restore Mother Nature?
By growing and maintaining gardens around their kitchens all year round, maintaining greenery within their homes and providing an important source of food for the family diet at the same time.
By planting trees around their homes and land boundaries, saving time and labor in getting fuel wood for cooking, limiting family conflicts, mitigating the effects of climate change, preventing soil erosion, and providing clean air and shelter.
By using clean-energy stoves, which use very little fuel wood and produce very little smoke.
By avoiding cutting trees at random, and instead planting five trees to replace every tree felled.
By applying appropriate farming practices, digging and plowing around slopes, not up and down, to prevent soil erosion.
By preserving wetlands, rather than using them for agricultural purposes.
Many women now own or co-own land with their spouses or siblings, so they can use land as they see fit. Women are often now included in decision-making on issues pertaining to land, the environment, politics and administration, on top of their traditional roles in food production and preparation.
But we still need financial, technical and moral support from local and international communities. Governments, donors and men should consider women as reliable, capable and viable development partners in the fight against climate change and in spearheading development across the world.
Director General, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
I want to see forests and trees playing a full role in mitigating and adapting to climate change.
This requires a change in mentality by all sectors of society and politics – not mere lip service during election time or after a catastrophic event.
Indigenous rights advocate and co-founder of Sixth World Solutions, U.S.
Sometimes, especially when conscious of what a short timeline we have to change our future, this fight feels like a losing battle because of the enormous power that extractive industries hold over energy and climate policy. But I maintain hope, because the only power that really matters in this fight is something that cannot be bought and sold – it’s the power of people to wake up each day committed to making a difference.
It’s the power of individuals to push forward ingenious innovations, refusing to give up or give in, that have led to renewables now becoming more affordable than fossil fuels.
It is the tenacity and consistency of advocacy that has inspired the next generation of climate leaders and activists – our children leading the call for change because they will not accept passively inheriting broken and unsustainable systems.
It is the will of water protectors and land defenders to continue the fight for the rights of their communities despite the violence, extrajudicial killings and criminalization they face.
And it’s the courage of Indigenous peoples, on the frontlines of climate change impacts, who are demanding and developing rights-based approaches to the issues that we face, challenging all peoples to build more just, sustainable, holistic and equitable systems of landscape governance that empower the most marginalized while restoring and protecting our precious ecosystems so that we can overcome the legacies of colonization, poverty and inequity to pass on a better world for future generations.