Students address climate change for a cleaner future

EASTERN Shore schools have started working on projects to lead local action on addressing climate change as part of the annual Tasmania Youth Climate Leaders Program.

In its third year, the Tasmanian Youth Climate Leaders Program inspires student leaders to address sustainable development goals by providing the skills, empowerment and networks for students to lead their own projects within their school.

Corpus Christi Catholic School in Bellerive and St John’s Catholic School in Richmond are two Eastern Shore schools that have started working on relevant and worthwhile projects.

Justin Brasnja, who is the program coordinator at both schools, said it was great to see the students become leaders for the younger students while working on the projects.

“Corpus Christi is looking to work with the Bicycle Network to map out some safe routes around our local area, so we can get kids riding to school on safe routes around the area,” he said.

“We’re also looking to run some workshops with interested kids and parents about bikie maintenance and we’ll do some actual training around riding safely on the street and on footpaths.

“The project is about getting people out of their cars and onto bikes, so they’re reducing their carbon footprint, becoming fitter and healthier, and addressing sustainability goals.”

The St John’s Catholic School group planned to develop a vegetable garden and get healthy eating into the school canteen with the help of Julie Dunbabin from the Tasmanian School Canteen Association.

“It is about getting students to understand about healthy eating, where their food comes from, what it takes to grow food, and then how to cook healthy meals and use the produce we’re growing,” Mr Brasnja said.

Year six Corpus Christi Catholic School student Erin Mulcahy said she was excited to work on the project throughout the year.

“I’m doing the project because there’s a lot of fuels coming out of cars that are ruining the air, so if we just ride and walk then it decreases it a lot,” she said.

The key drivers of the program were three Youth Climate Planning Conferences held online late March where students workshopped their planned projects.

More than 280 students from 36 secondary schools across Tasmania heard from keynote speakers including Costa Georgiadis from ABC’s Gardening Australia, Doctor Anna Seth from the Climate Resilience Network, and Tasmanian local youth climate leader Amelie Hudspeth.

“As young people facing this climate crisis, the weight of the world is on their shoulders and our students are preparing for a future that we don’t know what it will be like, so this program is teaching students how to be leaders and to address these problems,” convenor of the Tasmanian Youth Climate Leaders Program Toby Thorpe said.

“Throughout the year, we will continue that network, connect students with mentors, provide online training, and at the end of the year we will gather again to allow students to troubleshoot their problems, celebrate what they achieved, recognise what they didn’t achieve and launch their climate leadership to the next stage.”

Caption: From left, Corpus Christi and St John’s Catholic School Tasmanian Youth Climate Leaders Program coordinator Justin Brasnja, Bicycle Network Ride2School coordinator Shane Holland and 11-year-old Erin Mulcahy.

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About the Author: Eastern Shore Sun

The Eastern Shore Sun is your monthly community newspaper, reaching over 30,000 homes and businesses in the communities of Clarence and Sorell. It is the product of Nicolas Turner, Justine Brazil, Ben Hope, Simon Andrews, Tobias Hinds and guest contributors, with support from advertisers.

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