This #WomenCrushWednesday, we are spotlighting Ivana Karina Escate Gastañaga, a Women4Climate from Lima and the founder of Enverdece Mujer, an initiative that seeks to empower women through green spaces creation.
Read on to find out more about Ivana's strong connection with nature that has put her on a mission to green up the City of Lima.
What's the story behind Enverdece Mujer and what inspired you to join the initiative?
Everything stems from my childhood. I was born in a town in the Andean area of Peru, where daily I was waking up to a most beautiful landscape full of vegetation and clean air. Together with my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, we used to grow our own food. But over the years, I started seeing significant changes around my home town, such as deforestation, river pollution, changes in the climate, among others. This reality has really affected me a lot.
On the other hand, living in a rural area implied lacking more significant opportunities for the development of our family (education and work), which forced us to migrate to Lima, the capital of Peru. Lima offered more job opportunities for my parents and better education for me; however, I also found myself in a grey city, without green spaces and with significant environmental problems.
This is why it's been one year since I've created 'Enverdece Mujer (Green Up Woman), a movement where women empower themselves and strengthen their capacities by creating green spaces. Why women? It is because historically, we have had a unique and different connection with the land and vegetation. Women can use that connection to contribute to a greener city, a city more resilient to climate change.
W4C - What message do you have from your own journey of being a Women4Climate, for aspiring women leaders working towards a sustainable, greener and an ever-unpredictable future?
As women, history and biases have filled us with fears and uncertainties about our capacities and impacted our ability to dream; but I am convinced that it is women who have the most extraordinary capacity for resilience in the face of any adversity or obstacle, and it is this strength that makes us key in the fight against climate impacts globally.
As a young woman, I've had fears and doubts about my project. I never really thought I would be able to make it a reality but The Women4Climate programme gave me what I very much needed - CONFIDENCE. This journey of being part of Women4Climate has been more than a mentorship programme; it has been an incredible experience strengthened by being in the presence of other women as passionate as I am about the environment. This really gave me a push, and I understood that my dream of empowering local women while creating a greener and more resilient city was not absurd but one of the paths we need to take to achieve sustainability in Lima. Believe in your deepest dreams, trust yourself and your passions, because WE WOMEN CAN DO EVERYTHING.
W4C - Where do you see our cities in 10 years' time?
Each city has different realities and weaknesses that we must improve every year to manage our urban spaces better. That is why the City of Lima has been working hard to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.
I am convinced that my city in 10 years, Lima, will be considered a 100% green city, one among the best adapted in Latin America. Not only in terms of environmental metrics but more importantly, it will be a more inclusive, equitable and democratic city where the voices of historically vulnerable groups (women, youth, elderly, etc.) will be taken into account in climate action participation, engagement and decision-making.