When you get fired up about something it’s easy to take action, recommends Lachie Nicholls in Year 12 at St Peters, Broulee. On Thursday 16th May the school hall hosted a superbly successful evening coordinate by this young man - on the science and ethics of a changing climate.
“Over 300 chairs were put out and that was not enough ! People from all over the south coast came along”.
Lachie started the evening describing why he had to do something. Over the past 2 summers he had noticed his interests were being severely impacted by a changing climate. “If I wanted to fish in the future, and if I want to ski in Australia, then I had to do something. Doing nothing was not an option because just reading about my interests in history books didn’t grab me ! By telling some mates and letting young people know that is going on, we have a better chance of acting and stopping the race against climate change. Even things like snorkelling to look at coral, or the sea-life balance – something that we love and take for granted so much on the South Coast – all this is at risk, as is our health, our rainfall, our food production systems, insect life, sea level inundation, storm intensity – the list is endless….”
Lachie saying his piece, as peace hit the room - all photos by Gillianne Tedder
Emeritus Professor Will Steffen – renown climate change scientist from Australian National University – presented the science at a global scale. Reverend George Browning followed, speaking passionately back from a trip to Europe and Africa, and he was on fire about the changes to climate and the impacts on societies he had just witnessed. He asked ‘Why was it Australian politicians did not follow the leaders of moat of the rest of the developed world ?’
"A 75 minute Q & A session with 5 panel members heard and responded to questions from the younger people in the audience – it was great to hear the concerns and ideas of my age group” said Lachie. Panel members included local author James Woodford, Nowra based seaweed expert & production scientist Dr Pia Winberg, Professor Steffen, Dr George Browning, and Moruya student activist Pearl Mitchell – with progressive environmental interests.
“The discussion and ideas we were treated to was awesome !”
Questions to the panel were extremely well thought out, and heart-felt
Dinner met the Slow Food Australia ethos – pumpkin soup made from gardens at school and home and served in Keep cups. Eight local action groups had stalls to promote their interests and their angle on climate and the environment.
Lachie said "A lot of people made this night really so successful, supporting my idea and making the whole thing come together. Thanks to singer songwriter Sam Fletcher for the Climate Change Song, mum and dad for all their help, Ms Sascha Peard for encouraging me, and Linda Chapman for her great work with contacts & conducting the incredible Q&A session."
"With the federal election 2 days later, we all must speak up and value life on Planet Earth – over and above money, mines and jobs. Heating by more than 2C will mean more than just storms, severe bush fires and losing the Great Barrier Reef. Tell the politicians that they are authorised to lead the Nation – this means thinking and acting in the longer term interest. In 10 year’s time I bet I will not be able to get work digging coal – so what is next Mr Politician ?"
"Additionally, each of us can be heaps smarter about how we use energy, and what transport systems we choose (for work, for pleasure, for buying stuff), what business we support, where we buy food, and how we minimise wastage in the food-use chain.
"The conundrum is a Catch 22 – but ignoring it gets even worse…." Lachie extends his appreciation of groups such as 350.org, GetUp!, the South Coast Marine Group, South Coast Health & Sustainability Alliance (SHASA), Eurobodalla Shire, the BioPak Group and to all the interested people that were able to attend and showed interest. It was a combined effort that had a group from school preparing the pumpkin soup whilst another group of young mums offered to do the letter box drop while pushing prams round Broulee, Mossy Point & Tomakin.