Profiles in Regeneration: Lana, 21, U.S. and Brazil
Transforming food systems is a necessary aspect of any plan to stay within a safe degree of warming from climate change.
Young people all around the world are working to build a regenerative future. At 21, Lana Weidgenant is one of those people. She wants to create school gardens centered on teaching youth self-sufficiency, agriculture, and how to reduce the impacts of climate change.
Regenerative Futures: How are you feeling right now?
Lana Weidgenant: Both inspired by doing work I care deeply about and facing large amounts of anxiety from a climate crisis which will impact my future and that of younger generations.
RF: What’s a secret your search history can tell us about you?
LW: I have an unconventional sleep schedule and depending on my deadlines and meetings for a day I will often stay up very late or wake up very early. There’s basically no time you can guarantee I won’t be awake.
RF: What are you reading/learning about at the moment?
LW: I’ve recently accepted a position as Vice-Chair for one of the five main objectives of the UN Food Systems Summit 2021, so I’ve been reading up on healthy, sustainable diets for diverse world regions to ensure I have a good background heading into the organizing and agenda-setting aspects of my role.
RF: Who is your favorite human and why?
LW: I love my mom. She has always been here for me and taught me values of compassion and kindness from a young age.
RF: Which key moment inspired you to start your project?
LW: During the Global Climate Strike on September 20, 2019, I stopped and thought about how food systems are being widely left out of the climate movement, and how transforming food systems is a necessary aspect of any plan to stay within a safe degree of warming from climate change. I knew that someone had to educate and implement food-systems solutions — starting with our youngest generation. I wasn’t sure yet what the project would look like, but I knew from my background in food systems and climate action that I had to raise awareness on the nexus of food and climate.
RF: In two years’ time, what would success with your project look like?
LW: Youth championing food-systems solutions to the climate crisis.
RF: If you could focus a large percentage of government funding on one industry or project for the next five to ten years, which would you choose and why?
LW: I would choose climate action. The next five to ten years are crucial for combating the climate crisis and staying within a safe degree of warming. Climate change exacerbates social issues, and if we don’t allocate appropriate resources and mobilization to fight the climate crisis, all other issues will become worse as resources dwindle, extreme weather increases, and our planet becomes less inhabitable and more conflict-ridden.
RF: What is the best and worst thing about the education system in your country?
LW: I am from Brazil but currently based in the U.S. For the United States, I would say the best aspect is the wide variety of arts and sports offerings available for all students to participate in. The worst part is the vast inequality that comes from a structure where resources are allocated to public schools based on the surrounding region—meaning that students in affluent regions attend schools with far more resources than students who grow up in low-income regions.
RF: Do you have a message for anyone your age living in the year 2060?
LW: I want you to know that I fought for you every day. Every day I thought of you and your future. I hope you can sit in school and think about the career you want to have without concern for existential planetary crises. I hope youth climate activists don’t exist in your time and that young people are carefree and hopeful. Of course, I am sure there will be other issues to combat, and I hope you take the time to fight for a better world. But I hope you do so knowing there will be a future for you.
RF: What inspires or frightens you most about the future?
LW: There are many aspects of how we are currently handling society that terrify me. In light of it all, what gives me the most hope is the young, passionate activists I see rising up all around the world to push for a better, more just, more equitable future.
To learn more about Regenerative List finalist, Lana Weidgenant, click here.