María Angélica Villasante
Villafuerte

Project: From the mountains to the city: youths ensuring water for Lima

BSc. Engineering and Environmental Management from the Scientific University of the South with a specialty in Integrated Management of Water Resources from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. Currently a research and community science assistant at CONDESAN for the Natural Infrastructure for Water Security project. Member of the Peruvian Youth against Climate Change (JPCC) collective and of the World Youth Parliament for Water. With experience in national and international networks, advocacy on public policies for the inclusion of youth participation and the intergenerational approach to climate issues; and the co-design of projects for youth empowerment in climate and environmental management.

PROJECT

Continuing to promote the development of a city that responds to the impacts of climate change sounds almost impossible if we do not also focus on the ecosystems and communities that support it.

Much of the water used comes from planting and water harvesting interventions in the Andean region of Lima, ancestral practices promoted for several centuries by communities. Today, many young people in rural areas are forced to migrate in search of new opportunities, increasingly putting these ancestral practices at risk. In a few years, this migration will affect the availability of water in the city, bringing consequences of all kinds. "From the mountain to the city” project aims:

  • for the youths of the communities to know the true impact at basin level of planting and harvesting water and that city youths can recognise where their water comes from
  • to promote the exchange of knowledge between youths
  • for the youths from the city to contribute in the design of ventures for the benefit and leadership of youths from the communities and thus, little by little, be able to stop this forced migration.

I have been working closely with water-growing communities. From adults to young people to children and, little by little, I began to understand their dynamics as well as their realities. One of these is the lack of income and the little that the field currently gives them, since most of them are subsistence agriculture, I feel their frustration that is also mine, for always wanting to do more for them without coming to a class of assistance. That is why I consider it is time to generate ideas that promote better living conditions and that these 2 Limas reconnect, value and cooperate, and what better if it is with young people who can lead this change.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

I am an environmentalist since I can remember. I am lucky to have been raised by parents who taught me through stories and many trips the deep connection between the communities of the mountains and their environment, how they manage their territory from a cosmo vision, and also how they feel that their weather is changing. That led me to study Environmental Engineering, but I felt that it was not enough. Not only as a professional, but as a citizen, I can contribute and my involvement with climate groups made me grow and contribute in many others. But above all, internalise and reflect: there will be no climate justice without social justice. And that's what I'm going to dedicate my life to, wherever I am.