Finding my way – reflections on my Youth in Landscapes experience

August 5, 2016
Youth Session: Enter the dragons’ den – Youth to pitch ideas for sustainable landscapes at GLF 2015 in Paris. Photo: Pilar Valbuena

Youth Session: Enter the dragons’ den – Youth to pitch ideas for sustainable landscapes at GLF 2015 in Paris. Photo: Pilar Valbuena

By Praiya Uranukul, originally published at landscapes.org

It has been almost six months, yet my participation at Global Landscape Forum and the Youth in Landscapes Initiative mentoring program continues to inspire me – even now. The sheer scale of it – the number of passionate people enthusiastically debating options, of solutions being proposed and of the principle of the very forum – acted as a remarkable reminder that I was not alone in my hope and determination to make our world a more sustainable place, and a friendlier place to everyone. It has given me the strength I direly need.

Having Edward Millard, the Director of Strategic Partnerships, Rainforest Alliance, by my side as a mentor only made the experience even more invaluable. His calm demeanor, patience and in-depth knowledge about environmental issues, accumulated through decades of experience in the field, was what I immediately recognised as something I aspire towards.

I was yet to find a job, and was not even entirely sure which roles (of thousands of possibilities) I would like to actively take in the field of development and sustainability. Despite that, Edward has still been able to give me valuable guidance.

I am grateful for the opportunity to see how he approaches a problem, to see what an experienced environmental professional is like in person, and what kind of lifestyle they have created. It was then I actually recognized how little I know about this field, particularly about the prospective careers and how you can build your life around this passion.

I have always longed to make a difference, and Edward has helped me figure out the path I can take to achieve that very broad goal. We have been able to talk about our struggles, career development, and the job market at present. His insights made it a more valuable career consultation than the countless sessions I have had in my university years.

I have always felt like a loner fighting for an environmental issue. For the first time in a very long time, GLF and my mentor Edward helped me affirm my aspiration, my goal and my path. I am no longer lost.

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