Women in Leadership: Activists Dedicated to Environmental Restoration and Conservation. | Daniela Gutiérrez


Photo: I Plant a Tree

In just three years, Bolivian activist Daniela R. Gutiérrez, founder of the organization Yo Planto un Arbolito (I Plant a Tree), has planted more than 10,000 trees and created urban forests throughout Cochabamba.

Her leadership and commitment have motivated and mobilized hundreds of families, young people and children to take action to improve the quality of life of people through environmental action for the conservation of Mother Earth.

She is currently a Social Responsibility Advisor in the Chamber of Industry, Commerce and Services of Cochabamba (ICAM), where she engages business and governmental organizations to generate actions in the key areas of sustainable development, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Why do you defend the environment?

We belong to Mother Earth, although some people think that she belongs to us and exploit her resources in an excessive way, without being aware of the consequences at the environmental level, in the lives of other beings and in the quality of life of ourselves as human beings; those who are here today and those who will come.

It is important to create awareness, starting from the "I" as a decision maker and doer of actions, assuming that role of responsibility towards the care, preservation and creation of ecosystems for the conservation of the environment.

That is why I defend the environment, because not all of us assume responsibility and understand the implication of each act with the environment. That is how we founded Yo Planto un Arbolito, an initiative to exercise a transformational leadership, which promotes actions for the environment, where each of the people who are part of the organization assume that role, create and connect with the Pachamama.

Why do environmental issues particularly affect women? 

There is an important and undeniable connection between women and nature. Mother Earth and women have historically been exploited. Today this is still happening, the destruction of our areas -that should be protected- is increasing every day as well as femicides, both in Bolivia and in other parts of the world. This damages our system and has repercussions on the future we are building.

How do you practice activism in both cases? 

With leadership, commitment, compassion and love for what I do. Example is our best asset to transmit, transcend and create concrete actions to obtain results that improve our environment.

I practice activism being a spokesperson and faithful defender of the rights of women and Mother Earth, supporting the generation of opportunities in which we do not lose sight of the approach of complementarity and consequence of actions.

In addition to connecting and encouraging more people to find a more leveled path to reach their goals and fly higher with principles of sisterhood and companionship.

What is the connection between environmental preservation and women's land rights?

It is important to understand, comprehend and assume that both Mother Earth and women are subjects of full rights, that we must enjoy protection and secure the future of ourselves and the next generations. Mother Earth, in this sense, is not an object with resources over which we have possession and power of decision disrespecting its conservation, just as women are not objects that can be possessed, but allies to improve our societies and our environment.

It is up to us to transgress the bad practices that damage our future, to be spokeswomen for the importance of the complementarity and connection that exists between nature and women. By preserving, caring for and protecting our Pachamama, we can ensure life itself. We are and come from the earth, if we take care of it, preserve and protect it, we ensure wellbeing and an equitable, dignified, just and sustainable future.