Youth find hope, purpose in protest

ERIN SEMMLER

Nineteen-year-old student Jordan Rowand said climate change makes her feel helpless, which begins to explain why she’s standing outside a politician’s office, holding a protest flag.  

AYCC members Jordan Rowan (centre) and Uma Bridges (right) join Stop Adani protesters outside MP Meaghan Scanlon’s office. Photo: Erin Semmler 

“Climate change is a pretty depressing topic and issue that this generation is facing,” she said.

“Being part of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) or any kind of climate network, surrounded by young people who are like-minded and wanting to make a difference – that’s really empowering.

“You don’t feel so drawn down by the negativity of a lot of things that you often feel are out of your control.”

A fellow member of the AYCC, 19-year-old Uma Bridges, said she spends her free time pushing for action on climate change.

“The AYCC is a nation-wide coalition of young people who are rallied together because we all care about renewable energy, having a just and environmentally friendly future,” she said.

“We are all working towards that. Empowering the youth and picking targets that we think are the right kind of people to talk to and take action.”

AYCC members sign Stop Adani letters outside MP Meaghan Scanlon’s office. Photo: Erin Semmler

The AYCC has more than 150,000 members Australia-wide with a growing group of youth attending rallies, actions and events against climate change on the Gold Coast.

Uma said the AYCC focuses on empowering people aged between 15 to 30.

“We try to focus on the youth. It’s really daunting this sort of stuff, a lot of people who join us are getting involved with politics or big corporation type stuff for the first time,” she said.

“For a lot of young people it can be really overwhelming to go straight into the hardcore campaigning so we kind of help them transition into that.”

Jordan said the AYCC is allied with three major environmental campaigns.  

“We have a couple of campaigns, our biggest one is Stop Adani and our second one is Repower Our Schools,” she said.

“We go into schools and empower the kids to change their school to solar and be a bit more environmentally friendly.

“We also have an alliance with the Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network which is our sister organisation and they work to stop fracking in the Northern Territory.”

Click here to find out more about the AYCC, Stop Adani and the Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network.

 

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