September 7 - 13, 2014: Issue 179


 Youth Leading The Way (YLTW) -  Northern Beaches Congress 2014

 David of Coastal Environment Centre - Narrabeen giving a tour of the CEC and explaining its sustainability features. 

Feedback from participants later: Loved seeing sustainability in action.

Youth Leading The Way Northern Beaches 2014

Young people with a passion for the environment attended the hands-on sustainability congress “Youth Leading the World”, this week, September 2-4. This is the sixth annual event run by non-profit organisation OzGREEN in partnership with Pittwater and Warringah Councils at the Coastal Environment Centre in Narrabeen.

The congress has grown rapidly since the inaugural event in 2009 and is being facilitated at over 100 locations in Australia and overseas at different dates this year. Participants explore local and global sustainability challenges, look at their own eco footprint and work on ideas for change at home, at school and in their communities. On the third day of the congress, the attendees present their action plans to the community and seek support for their initiatives.

“The congress is a great opportunity to connect with other youth who share your environmental or social concerns, brainstorm new ideas to make our world more sustainable and turn them into reality. While the topics are serious, there’s a great energy at our congresses and it’s a lot of fun, too,” said Vanessa Moskal, Warringah’s youngest Councillor and Northern Beaches YLTW facilitator since 2009.

Participants do not need any prior experience in sustainability, just a keen interest to learn more and become involved.

OzGREEN has been working in environmental education for more than 20 years and started YLTW six years ago. “We were concerned by the lack of political action on critical issues and saw the need to foster a new generation of leaders who will actively work for a switch to sustainable living,” explains Sue Lennox, OzGREEN’s founder and co-CEO.

Founded in 1992, OzGREEN is a non-profit sustainability organisation, which educates and empowers young people, corporations and communities to tackle environmental challenges (such as climate change and water) and become leaders of social change. OzGREEN operates nationally in Australia and has established programs in Asia and Central America. The calibre of OzGreen and Sue Lennox’ work has been recognised via national and international awards including the Eureka Prize, Banksia Award and UN Media Peace award.

On Tuesday, September 2nd, the YLTW Northern Beaches congress got off to a great start with a very engaged and passionate group of young people from four Northern Beaches high schools. 

We share the highlights of this year’s YLTW Northern Beaches Congress courtesy of YLTW - Northern Beaches:

Their Top 6 Concerns - Day 1

Oceans (e.g. overfishing, shark culling, turtle extinction threat, whaling etc.)

Lack of use and provision of public transport

Global warming and reliance on fossil fuels

Lack of spreading the word

Littering (microplastics, plastic bags) / Pollution 

Food (waste, miles, meat consumption)

Concern 5 and 6 had equal number of votes so the participants decided to include them both. 

Their Vision

All is sustainable and everyone can look forward to a bright future. We interact and look after sea life while everyone can enjoy a litter-free ocean to swim in because there is no litter in the first place as modern technologies have changed any waste to be biodegradable. 

It’s funny watching people catch the solar panelled buses home as they watch their reflections in the solar panelled roads and fix their hair while the kids pull funny faces.

The only thing that’s endangered now is people who are homeless and hungry. We all live happily together and by all we mean animals, sea life, even species that were once considered dangerous and scary and people, even people that were once considered strangers. 

A little boy is everybody’s little brother.

Working on our vision - lots of sea life made it on to the butcher's paper ;-)

YLTW Northern Beaches 2014 - Day 3

September 4th, 2014

What an inspiring day. All action plans groups got down to work and produced very professional, engaging presentations for the Community Forum. The Forum was well attended with adults listening and offering support. Well done to everyone! 

Here are more details on the Northern Beaches action plans:

1. GREAT SHARK DAY OUT (Lily, Jemima, Liam T., Jake)

Run a shark festival at Dee Why Beach to educate people about sharks, involve them in the issue and reach the ultimate aim of taking down the shark nets and stop the culling. 

Festival will include info stalls by local enviro groups, food stalls selling sustainable food, local bands, activities such as beach clean up and raffle, films about sharks, speakers from 'pro shark organisations' , the "shark bus", life guards engaging people in conversations etc. 

To be held this summer. 

2) CLEAN UP THE NORTHERN BEACHES (Liam M., Matija, Dylan, Oliver)

Put up posters in schools and around the beaches to remind people to take their rubbish with them. 

Organise a Clean Up Day in conjunction with Clean Up Australia Day next March.

Cooperate with Surf Clubs to make regular announcements on the beach to take rubbish home and get their members involved in educational campaign. 

3) RAIN FOR WATER (Natalie and Nadia)

Fundraise money at school to install rainwater tanks at the German International School. 

Hold presentation about water wastage and lack of clean water in developing nations (drinking water / sanitisation) at school, start with their own class and then expand to whole school and other schools in the area.

Fundraise money for clean water organisation. 

4) ABOLISH HUNGER & THIRST - ANJ (Angela, Nina and Jay)

Formation of fundraising committee - ANJ - to raise money for organisations committed to reducing food waste and achieving food equality between developed and developing nations.

Hold presentation on food issues at German International School, start with own class, then expand to whole school. 

Run first fundraiser for OzHarvest (Organisation which rescues perishable food and distributes it to 500 charities in Australia). 

Run regular fundraiser once every term or two terms to support food charities. 


Congratulations to all those who participated in this year's YLTW Northern Beaches Congress - some great ideas and initiatives! 


Report and Pictures courtesy YLTW Northern Beaches, 2014. Keep up to date with YLTW on their Facebook Page