Social Justice

Last Saturday, 11 students from the Green Team accompanied by Mrs Lam went to the 10th anniversary of the 1 Million Women Love Earth Festival. At the heart of this movement is the aim to “empower women everywhere to act on climate change through the way they live,” says founder, Natalie Isaacs. I think I speak for all of us who  attended in saying that this event filled us with a lot of hope about combating climate change, just because of the sheer number of people who came.

Through the Acknowledgement of Country, we learnt about the great impact that climate change is having on the culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Australia’s First People are deeply connected to the land and sea and are feeling and seeing the effects of climate change.

The first part of the day consisted of listening to several speakers from different backgrounds. Some spoke about their experience with climate change in their respective industries and other shared ideas that we, as individuals, can implement in our lives.  It was encouraging to hear how global leaders are already taking action – particularly inspiring and hope-invoking was the video message recorded especially for the event from New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The next speaker was the Costa Rican Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Lorena Aguilar. It was especially inspiring when she spoke about the amazing things Costa Rica have initiated to combat change. If Costa Rica – a small country in Central America on the opposite side of the world – can make a change, why can’t we? Then former global CEO of Greenpeace, Paul Gilder, spoke to us urging us to take action, so that governments and big corporations will follow. His message was that if we only start trying to fix the world’s issues when they get out of hand, we won’t solve anything.

Craig Reucassel from the ABC’s War on Waste talked about changing people’s perspectives and mindsets. He spoke about the immense amount of waste he has discovered while filming the show. However, Craig made sure to highlight that, while issues relating to our environment can seem hopeless, “the arc of humanity is bending towards climate justice”. Then we heard from Laura Wells, an Australian model and ocean conservationist, who spoke to us about the impacts of the fashion and textile industry on climate change and the waste it produces. Things like fast fashion, using synthetic fibres, water pollution, air pollution and landfill are all negative areas that the textile industry contributes to. But things like buying from sustainable and ethical brands, thrift shopping and mending clothes are all things individuals can do to reduce their impact. Continuing with this theme, Erin Rhoads, the author of Waste Not, spoke about little habits we should implement to do our bit to help the environment, such as switching to bulk food stores and reusing more. She also reminded us that to drastically change our lifestyle to be more sustainable would be a slow process and that we should take it step-by-step. The final speaker was Lou Dyer, the inventor of the Keep Cup, who really reiterated and brought home the message of developing good habits. One of the key realisations that we took away from the event is that people are already fighting to make a difference.

There were also a couple of demonstrations giving us ways to implement more sustainable practices in our own homes. The first demonstration showed us to build our own worm farm in the backyard to create a compost. Composts are a great way to get rid of fruit and vegetable scraps that can turn into rich soil for the garden. The second demonstration was all about minimising food waste. We were taught how to pickle food in order to preserve it so that it can be eaten later.

Some facts and quotes we heard:

  • Costa Rica aims to be the first de-carbonated country in the world by 2050.
  • 26% of Costa Rica is a protected area.
  • “Politics don’t change, markets don’t change, governments don’t change…until people change.”
  •  “The world never really changes in a big way until we have a crisis.”

In between these speakers and demonstrations, there were also many musical acts from artists who are passionate about combating climate change and other environmental issues. Overall, the day was an incredible experience full of motivational speakers, inspiring musicians and vegan, waste-free markets (the coconut-milk-vanilla-bean ice cream was absolutely delicious!). The event really filled us with hope because of the number of people who want to make a difference and it was a truly enjoyable experience.

We want to say thank you to Mrs Lam, Mrs Cranfield and Mrs Parker for organising tickets for this event and especially to Mrs Lam, who shared the day with us.  

If you want to learn more about the 1 Million Women movement, this is the link to their website.

 

Leila Mangos (Year 10) and Anika Bharadwaj (Year 11)