Marian Ignat

Three mindsets we need for environmental action

Changemakers on learning from nature, collective leadership, and inner work.


Even as we celebrate the innovators, changemakers, and activists building the climate movement around the world, we know there is no single “Captain Planet” able to fix all the problems that we’ve created. (Despite what the American cartoon might lead you to believe.) Still, we—the people—can rise to the occasion by working side by side. Our planet’s future depends on the “Everyone a Changemaker” mindset.

At this year’s edition of Future Summit, Corina Murafa, the co-lead of Next Now: Planet & Climate, discussed the future of our planet with two Ashoka Fellows, Jacek Bozek from Poland and Luis Alberto Camarago from Colombia, and Ashoka Young Changemaker Julieta Martinez, from Chile. Here are our highlights:

Nature as a teacher

Luis Camarago says that the beauty of nature-based education stands in its ability to be taught in and out of the classroom, including at home. “It doesn’t even matter if it’s the schoolyard, the urban park or the wilderness,” he says. “The processes of associating the living systems to learning is important.”

Nature-based education enhances our capacity for empathy—towards nature and fellow human beings. And nature’s wisdom teaches us how to create the conditions to thrive— much needed now. You can hear about one of the projects that Luis is doing in Bogota, here:


Luis Camarago is the founder and executive director of Organisation for Education and Environmental Protection (OpEPA — Colombia and USA). Read more about his work in the field here. 

Youth at the helm

Intergenerational collaboration plays an important role when it brings everyone at the table and leaves no one behind, says Julieta Martinez. The magic happens when “the experience of the older generation is combined with the strength of the younger generation” to create bigger and better solutions. But for these solutions to emerge, the voices of young people, women, people of color must be at the forefront. This requires authentic listening—otherwise, it’s only tokenism, as Julieta experienced more than once:


Julieta Martinez is the founder of Tremendas, a collaborative platform for empowered youth in Chile. Read more about her grassroots work here.

Leading with reflection

All in all, the pandemic has come with a gift for many people: the opportunity to stop for a second, look around and examine their lives. It meant facing really difficult questions and uncertain answers, especially in terms of future predictions, but that’s only half the process of self-scrutiny. Jacek Bozek has gratefully taken that moment to question his work and identity and shared the experience with us:


Jacek Bozek is the founder of Klub Gaja and the first leader of the Green Party in Poland. A glimpse of Jazek’s work can be found here. 


It seems naive to believe that every little effort counts. Surprisingly, it does. Get inspired with the full conversation here and start working for a better future, starting with yourself.

Usually held in Bucharest, Future Summit is a conference for gathering ideas, leaders and innovators for a better future—a space to talk about innovation, trends and technology’s impact on society.

Marian Ignat

Marian has recently joined Changemakers in March 2022 as our Communications and Insights Web Associate. He previously spent a year with Ashoka's Next Now: Planet & Climate team as an intern, and is now finishing his BA in Political Science.