What Australia’s Youth Are Doing On Climate Change

1 July 2009

Cass is one of our new interns working on public engagement. She’s been involved in the youth climate movement over the past few years and will be attending a key conference bringing together young Australians concerned about climate change. Hear about it in her own words.

When the Australian Bureau of Statistics recently released figures that show young Australians are the least concerned sector of the community when it comes to the environment, I had two reactions: disappointment and excitment.

As a young Australian active in the battle against climate change, I was disappointed that my generation didn’t care. I was so disappointed I started looking for people to blame. First, it was the statisticians fault – you can never trust a number cruncher! Then, it was obviously the fault of the media, disempowering youth with continual stories of binge drinking and brawling. I blamed environmental organisations for not engaging with youth, Centrelink for not paying students enough money and forcing them to work instead of protest, and finally I went to argue against the pigeonholing of my generation into the “Gen Y” stereotype, which was slightly off topic but seem relevant at the time!

But then I had a closer look at the figures – “2007-2008” they said, and I felt excited! I felt excited because I know that worldwide there is a mass mobilisation of youth demanding that their voices are heard on climate change. I am excited because I, as one member of the youth climate movement in Australia, know that it’s gaining strength and momentum. I am excited because the ABS figures on youth and the environment will soon be forced to change.

And the reason they will be forced to change will partly be due to the Australian Youth Climate Coalition’s national youth summit, Power Shift 2009. Proudly supported by Greenpeace, Power Shift will empower, motivate and engage thousands of youth from all walks of life, from all parts of the country. It will be an excellent first step for newcomer’s, a great way to meet like-minded people and a fantastic opportunity to get new ideas from the “old” hands in the international climate movement.

So, if you’re like me – young and disappointed in the ABS statistics – then register for Power Shift 2009, get excited, and get them to change.

Power Shift 2009 will be held on 11-13 July at the University of Western Sydney’s Parramatta Campus. Registrations are now open. Go to www.powershift.org.au for more details.