Towards a clean, green Aotearoa: students lead climate conference

27 June 2019

A sustainable, clean, green future for Aotearoa New Zealand is achievable, say two University of Canterbury (UC) students who helped organise this weekend’s Climate Challenge Conference.

  • Amelia Dewhurst

    Engaged and energised: Amelia Dewhurst is one of the UC students who helped to organise a youth conference to tackle climate change issues.

A sustainable, clean, green future for Aotearoa New Zealand is achievable, say two University of Canterbury (UC) students who helped organise this weekend’s Climate Challenge Conference in Christchurch, a youth-for-youth initiative that aims to educate, empower, connect and activate young people.

The event co-organisers, Bachelor of Science students Rose Bayldon and Amelia Dewhurst, have grown up with an awareness of climate change challenges and the need to take urgent action.

“Since the two of us were children, climate change and the destruction of our natural world have been in the collective psyche of the developed world... it was natural for us to think about the changing climate, worry about it, and strategise about what we could do to help,” they wrote in UC’s Science Blog.

“It was puzzling that no-one else seemed to think it was that big a deal. Had they not read Dr Seuss’s The Lorax as a child? Why did they think it wasn’t an issue that didn’t need to affect their day-to-day life? Worse, did they expect someone else to fix it?”

The students are keen to embrace the collective, youth-focused energy of secondary school students and tertiary students focused on climate change, at the event on 29-30 June at UC.

 “We realise now how lucky we were to grow up with that knowledge. And we see in lots of young people today this same desire to know more, do more, and take action in a meaningful way. We see others who are looking around them, knowing something is not right, and looking for friends who think the same way. We know that it is often hard to do things alone, so, are there opportunities for people to meet their tribe?

 “The future is frightening, but we must take control by recognising that our actions have impacts on the environment. Climate change is the challenge of our generation: as rangatahi of Ōtautahi we can work together to inspire and motivate change on all levels, engaging all with this discussion,” they wrote.

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