A bold initiative to educate and inspire young people to act on their environmental and social concerns comes to Nimbin and Byron Bay on November 27–29.
OzGREEN will facilitate their successful Youth Leading the World (YLTW) congress in 53 other locations across Australia and overseas, connected via Skype and social media.
The Nimbin congress will take place at the Nimbin Town Hall and the Byron Bay congress at the Byron Community Centre. The congress will run from 9am to 3pm on all days.
The non-profit organisation OzGREEN, based in Bellingen, is inviting students aged 10–25 (core age 13–17) to attend the congress free of charge, individually or with a group from their school. Three thousand young people are expected to take part.
Participants learn about climate change and related challenges of clean energy, food and water security, and biodiversity. They work out their own eco footprint and then move on to create a vision for a fairer and more sustainable future and develop individual action plans for change at home, at school and in their communities. On the last day, they present the outcomes at a community forum (1–3pm at the Youth Hub), open to all interested residents, politicians, business owners, school principals and parents.
Nick Bearlin-Allardice, a former participant and now board member of OzGREEN and Australian director of change.org, says: ‘I can only encourage young people to attend the congress even if you think you don’t have anything to contribute. You’ll be amazed at what can happen when you are surrounded by like-minded people and develop tools to unleash your own creativity.’
Sue Lennox, OzGREEN’s founder and Co-CEO, agrees: ‘It’s been absolutely amazing to see thousands of young people across Australia and globally move from a place of disengagement to being empowered, passionate and actively tackling climate and water challenges’. Lennox launched YLTW in 2009 because she was concerned about the lack of significant action and political leadership on critical sustainability issues. ‘It was clear to me that we needed to foster a new kind of leader – fuelled by passion for fairness and grounded in their own values. We knew our youth programs could deliver and it was time to leverage that.’ OzGREEN decided to hold multiple smaller congresses simultaneously to reach as many young people as they could and connect them via social media to help them feel part of a larger community working for a common cause.
The Nimbin congress will be facilitated by Gail Clarke, Moksha and Adam Guise. The Byron Bay congress will be facilitated by Hanabeth Luke, Karl Goodsell and Amelia Hicks.
Adam stated, ‘I am inspired to volunteer for OzGREEN because its mission is to create leaders who will address the urgent issues of climate change and biodiversity extinction. We must urgently accelerate this shift to fair futures by building a movement of inspired leaders. This is what OzGREEN hopes to achieve.’