The rise of Generation Restoration and youth ecopreneurship

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Florent Kaiser, Executive Director, Global Forest Generation


  • Sparked by a formidable sense of purpose, urgency and need for action, a new generation of young people are putting the planet’s health at the heart of their businesses.
  • These young ecopreneurs are collectively known as Generation Restoration and are coming together to restore our natural world.
  • This youth-led movement shows the power and ability of an environmentally-savvy generation to bring about real, concrete change towards a healthy planet.

Our team at Global Forest Generation are on a mission to scale up the restoration of ecosystems worldwide. We are a new group with an old soul: seasoned and experienced conservationists teaming up with young ecopreneurs to demonstrate what a youth movement can become when supported and nurtured.

As part of this Generation Restoration, we believe a large part of the solution to our devastated global environment is regeneration, unlimited possibilities for which surround us. Regeneration – characterised by resilience – describes the ability of a cell, a system, a society, even an entire planet, to heal, renew and thrive anew.

Regeneration is increasingly making its way into the mainstream with new projects appearing all over the globe. Young people are developing regenerative businesses – purpose-driven ventures with social, economic and environmental justice missions at the centre of their business models. Other young ecopreneurs are learning, adopting and teaching regenerative agriculture, which reintroduces carbon, nutrients and species diversity into soils while increasing organic food production. Regenerative development – a particularly far-reaching and inclusive framework to foster collaboration for restorative and regenerative action – provides guidance to gradually transform a community, city, or an entire region and country from degraded ecosystems to abundance.

Local leadership and intergenerational collaboration

At Global Forest Generation, we regard local leaders and their communities as the ultimate ecopreneurs. We see consequential acts of local leadership – and the positive response to grassroots leadership at the global level – all the time within the rural and indigenous communities that comprise Accion Andina, our flagship initiative to restore forests in South America’s high Andes. This initiative is a partnership of local grassroots restoration leaders and communities throughout six countries, with the goal of protecting and restoring 1 million hectares and grow 100 million trees to restore native forests across the high Andes in the next 25 years.

It is profoundly inspiring to see entire communities across several countries collectively involved in reforestation: hundreds of multi-generational families committed to restoring their forests for water security. In the Andes, the Inca descendants continue to practice their ancestral principles of the Ayni, the Minka and the Mita. Ecopreneurs can learn from adopting their indigenous philosophy of common purpose – a profound commitment to work together for the greater good. Today I help you and tomorrow you help me, and the sum of our actions will be far greater. Not just person to person or community to community, but for the benefit of all the people, for the land they live on, with its long history.

A deep belief in the power of the collective, on-the-ground actions of many individuals is making ecosystem restoration a reality in the Andes and beyond, as thousands of youth-led projects take root all over the world.

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about deforestation?

Halting deforestation is essential to avoiding the worst effects of global climate change.

The destruction of forests creates almost as much greenhouse gas emissions as global road travel, and yet it continues at an alarming rate.

In 2012, we brought together more than 150 partners working in Latin America, West Africa, Central Africa and South-East Asia – to establish the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020: a global public-private partnership to facilitate investment in systemic change.

The Alliance, made up of businesses, governments, civil society, indigenous people, communities and international organizations, helps producers, traders and buyers of commodities often blamed for causing deforestation to achieve deforestation-free supply chains.

The Commodities and Forests Agenda 2020, summarizes the areas in which the most urgent action is needed to eliminate deforestation from global agricultural supply chains.

The Tropical Forest Alliance 2020is gaining ground on tackling deforestation linked to the production of four commodities: palm oil, beef, soy, and pulp and paper.

Get in touch to join our mission to halt to deforestation.

The process of growing trees and forests can serve as a metaphor for the experience of an ecopreneur. It is a progression requiring patience and long-term commitment: collecting seeds, nurturing their growth, planting young trees and then gathering more seeds to continue the process of creating healthy forest ecosystems.

And just as young trees receive sustenance from older established trees, the nurturing of a young ecopreneur can benefit from older generations of leaders sharing their wisdom and experience as mentors and guides. At Global Forest Generation we have discovered that young ecopreneurs grow by leaps and bounds by working side-by-side with their seniors.

Scaling up ecosystem restoration by supporting a new generation of ecopreneurs

To restore ecosystems on a large, transformative scale, local leadership and entrepreneurship are truly indispensable. The United Nations has declared 2021-2030 as the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration – a formidable framework to spark commitment and action, and to build a large collaborative movement of young and old to restore our planet. The World Economic Forum’s 1t.org acts in support of the UN Decade and brings together world leaders, businesses and young entrepreneurs to push forward on ecosystem restoration. We at Global Forest Generation are proud to serve on the advisory board, and there are clear next steps for engaging the world’s youth movement:

For ecopreneurship to become the new norm we need to rethink training, education, capacity-building, and promoting business and technical skills. We need to develop local cohorts of young entrepreneurs, mentors and investors. The Forum’s 1t.org, together with Uplink, is working with youth leaders to identify and address needs and run ecopreneurship challenges on global and regionally relevant issues. These actions work to surface bold new ideas, support them, and celebrate ecopreneurship.

As these local ecopreneurs and leaders are engaged, we must make sure to foster strong ties to culture and communities. At Global Forest Generation, we are engaged in an ongoing effort to identify and support a new generation of these young leaders with the energy, passion, endurance and skills to regenerate ecosystems in the long term.

We must recognize and invest in young ecopreneurs in early-stage projects, building a robust support system for these young people to engage in ecosystem restoration over the long term. Ultimately, the success of the upcoming UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration should not only be measured by numbers of trees and forests, but by how many young people have been able to build successful professions, organizations and livelihoods around ecosystem restoration.

Never has it been more urgent – and more possible and promising – for our younger generations to tap into their inner ecopreneur spirit and drive practical action in the world. The task ahead is immense, but our collective future depends on it.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

FROM THE FIELD: India’s plastic waste revolution

Integration of migrants: Commission launches a public consultation and call for an expert group on the views of migrants

Human rights: breaches in Russia, the Rakhine State and Bahrain

How upskilling could help cities rebuild after Coronavirus

EntEx Organises 5 Summer Schools for Young Entrepreneurs across Europe in June/July 2014

The female struggle in the face of medical devaluation

‘The welfare of the Libyan people’ the UN’s sole agenda for the country, says Guterres in Tripoli

Dare to be vulnerable, and three other lessons in leadership

How businesses can create an ethical culture in the age of tech

The challenge to be a good healthcare professional

Act now to prevent Desert Locust catastrophe in Horn of Africa: UN agencies

The most unlikely innovators are changing ICT for development – it’s time we took notice

What is environmental racism?

Climate change: cutting the good by the root?

Guterres condemns killing of Bangladeshi peacekeeper in South Sudan, during armed attack on UN convoy

Venezuela’s needs ‘significant and growing’ UN humanitarian chief warns Security Council, as ‘unparalleled’ exodus continues

More than speed: 5G could become the next big economic driver

Asylum: more solidarity among EU member states and funds for frontline countries

European Commission requests that Italy presents a revised draft budgetary plan for 2019

Greener tourism: Greater collaboration needed to tackle rising emissions

Juncker’s Investment Plan in desperate need for trust and funds from public and private investors

Europe, US and Russia haggle over Ukraine’s convulsing body; Russians and Americans press on for an all out civil war

The “Colombo Declaration” adopted at the World Conference on Youth 2014

IMF: World cup and productivity

Cameron postpones speech in Holland

‘Great cause of concern’ UN chief tells Security Council, surveying ‘bleak’ state of civilian protection

1.1 billion people still lack electricity. This could be the solution

5 leadership lessons I learned from doing my own ‘undercover boss’

If we want to solve climate change, water governance is our blueprint

The World Health Organization has called on countries to ‘test, test, test’ for coronavirus – this is why

EU budget: Commission helps prepare new Cohesion programmes with Regional Competitiveness Index and Eurobarometer

Catalonia secessionist leader takes Flemish ‘cover’; Spain risks more jingoist violence

Marriage equality boosted employment of both partners in US gay and lesbian couples

Europe had a record year for Measles – and it’s partly down to anti-vaccine campaigners

From Policy to Reality: Discrepancies in Universal Health Care Systems across the EU

AI looks set to disrupt the established world order. Here’s how

Early healthcare investment is our best chance at healthy ageing

The EU sides with China against the US; but has Germany capitulated to America?

Preserving biodiversity vital to reverse tide of climate change, UN stresses on International Day

Educate children in their mother tongue, urges UN rights expert

Russia and the West to partition Ukraine?

GDPR and the World Cup have these 4 things in common

Your chocolate can help save the planet. Here’s how

ECB embarks on the risky trip to Eurozone banking universe

New rules to help consumers join forces to seek compensation

Thinking like Leonardo da Vinci will help children tackle climate change

Parliament approves EU rules requiring life-saving technologies in vehicles

World Bank downgrades global growth forecasts, poorest countries hardest hit

What we need is more (and better) multilateralism, not less

International Women’s Day 2019: more equality, but change is too slow

How to fix our planet: the pioneers fighting to bring nature back

How China Mended My Heart

Children are forgetting the names for plants and animals

Labels for tyres: deal for greener and safer road transport

Commission presents its response to Antisemitism and a survey showing Antisemitism is on the rise in the EU

The Ecofin deceives the SMEs with the EIB €10bn capital increase

Consumers suffer three defeats

Sexual exploitation and abuse: latest UN quarterly update

The economic effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus around the world

New VAT rules in the EU: how a digital sea could have become an ocean

More Stings?

Trackbacks

  1. […] The rise of Generation Restoration and youth ecopreneurship  The European Sting […]

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s