Powershift 2013

From the 13th to 15th July, seven young students from UNE attended the Australian Youth Climate Coalition’s (AYCC) ‘Powershift’, which was held this year at Monash University, Melbourne. Powershift is massive initiative aimed to encourage, educate and empower young Australians in regards the potential impacts of climate change and the importance of action.

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They attended what was a very informative weekend, given flare by various speakers including Commissioner for Climate Change and scientist Tim Flannery, green business entrepreneur Paul Golding and Brianna Fruean, a15-year-old environmentalist and campaigner who travelled to the summit from her native Samoa.

A lighter touch was provided by comedian Claire Hooper who discussed how humour can effectively be used to communicate environmental messages. Various workshops and panels were held where every participant had the opportunity to learn from a broad range of panellists who discussed the current issues and interests of the climate movement.

On the final day 1,800 people including the students from UNE had the chance to participate in a political Q&A in Melbourne Town Hall, attended by the Shadow Minister for Climate, Environment and Heritage Greg Hunt, ALP member for Willis Kelvin Thompson and the Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne. The audience was able to ask the party representatives how they would reduce carbon emissions, promote renewable energy generation and employment, and their plan, if any, to keep the Earth’s atmosphere below 350 parts per million of carbon.

Following the Q&A a powerful and vocal mock parliament was held – Australia’s first Youth Climate Cabinet. The AYCC then marched the streets to the federal Offices of Parliament to deliver a piece of draft legislation which would ensure that Australia is not left behind in the green revolution. We have now returned full of pep and vigour ready to start pushing for a better future.

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Regardless to where you stand on the issue of climate change, it can be admitted that economically Australia has some vested interests in keeping the mining industry going. However, at some point we must ask ourselves, is this really how we want to leave the planet, and once all the mineral reserves in Australia are extracted, what else will we have? And is the monetary gain for the few in the short term, really going to be something that future generations will look back and think was a great idea?

- James Halliburton and Judd Newton

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