Surf Coast youth Zoom in on climate action

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Surf Coast Youth 4 Climate (SCY4C), a new youth-led group formed with support from Council, are continuing their environmental advocacy work online, despite challenges posed during the pandemic.

The group of 11 (ranging in age from 11 to 20) have completed a series of workshops run by local facilitators, connected with existing climate leaders and undertaken team building activities – all via Zoom.

Alanna Fitzgerald, 14, from Anglesea said with fellow members residing in Jan Juc, Torquay and Aireys Inlet, Zoom allows them to continue to “call for climate action” despite the current restrictions.

“The group was originally designed to utilise Zoom so we didn’t have to drive to different places, it’s easier online and it turned out really well with coronavirus,” Alanna said.

“The big thing we want to do is take action, we (the youth) are trying to act now because we’re the ones who will have to experience the effects of climate change.

“We’re taking action for generations to come. It’s about getting out there and actually doing things: tree planting, collecting rubbish – it’s about doing more and talking less.”

The group has completed workshops to assist in filming, photography and editing; public speaking, leadership and event planning, cyber safety in collaboration with Victoria Police, and digital story telling with Humankind Enterprises and the 2040 Project.

“It’s a range of skills that will help us get our message out there to people on the Surf Coast. If there’s teens wanting to save the environment and take action then that’s a good thing.”

On 20 September, Sustainable House Day SCY4C will run an online seminar about simple, cost-effective household changes to help the environment including: growing and purchasing local food, utilising renewable energy and effective waste management.

Surf Coast Shire Torquay Ward CCouncillor Martin Duke said the initiative is part of the youth development project Our Living Futures.

“Our Living Futures aims to empower young people in the shire as role models and leaders in response to Climate Emergency,” Cr Duke said.

“It’s great to see young people staying connected during this time and pursuing their climate action goals online. Surf Coast Youth 4 Climate is supported by Surf Coast Shire’s Youth Development and Sustainability Teams.”

To launch the program, Wadawurrung traditional owner Corrina Eccles ran a cultural awareness workshop where the group learned about engaging with local Indigenous groups, and created their own Acknowledgment of Country – now used at the beginning of all meetings and workshops.

Despite the challenges an exclusively virtual meeting place has presented, it has allowed members that might’ve previously missed out due to distance, school commitments or COVID-19 restrictions, to be involved and form new connections.

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