Students present ideas to tackle climate change

Powering the region with 100 per cent renewable energy, green buildings, nature-based solutions and reducing waste were among the top ideas presented by high school students to tackle climate change.

Students last night (Wednesday 13 November) presented an aspiration statement, their hopes and top ideas for addressing climate change at the Student and Industry Leader’s Panel event at the Cairns Performing Arts Centre.

As part of the Council’s inaugural Cairns Youth Climate Summit, ideas were developed at last month’s one-day workshop, which included 35 students from 15 high schools and youth representatives from Gimuy Walabura Yidinji and Yirrgandji tribes.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning welcomed the passion and scope of ideas presented by the students.

“This process gave students a feeling of empowerment, they had the ear of key community, government and industry people, who were listening to their concerns,” Cr Manning said.

“The event gave the next generation the chance to voice their ideas and aspirations and provide input in shaping future climate policies.”

Over 400 ideas to tackle climate change were generated at the workshop, as well as 36 hopes for the future, and six aspirational statements around their hopes for Cairns.

Top ideas included:

  • Powering our region by 100% renewable energy
  • Protecting and restoring the reef and rainforest
  • Capturing carbon while enhancing our natural areas
  • Greening buildings and improving their efficiency
  • Encouraging the uptake of electric vehicles
  • Reducing and reusing waste
  • Low carbon tourism options
  • Working with the community on projects to reduce emissions

Invited panellists to the event included Craig Pocock (TTNQ) and Skyrail Managing Director); Norris Carter (CEO North Queensland Airports); Jodie Duignan-George (Vice President Cairns Chamber Commerce); Andy Ridley (CEO Citizens Great Barrier Reef); Tara Diversity (Director, Young Entrepreneurs Project); and Stewart Christie (CEO, Terrain NRM).

Students’ group aspirational statement:

“Our hope is that by 2030 Cairns will be a place where everyone feels empowered, fuelled with passion and is moving with obligation. In the midst of this global crisis, we will be the light in the dark, leading by example as we transition to a more sustainable and climate-conscious future.

Climate Action must begin with our own mindsets. How can we progress if what we do and say contradict? Without community, any individual effort will be futile.

We hope to see Council transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030 and implement an effective education system that ensures that climate-awareness is not disproportionate in our society.

We are all responsible, but we can all be part of the solution.

Let’s work together to build Cairns into a city of the present, driven by the future, using knowledge of the past.

Let future generations live in a beautiful world.”

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