Social Justice Forum
On Tuesday evening 11 students and three teachers attended a social justice forum at Mount St Benedict’s College.
The evening began with a presentation by Tim Flannery, a leading environmentalist and climate change activist. He discussed the evidence and impacts of climate change on many different ecosystems. He also explained how these impacts are a direct result of the actions of humans.
Later we split into smaller groups to complete workshops covering a number of topics including presentations on food waste and ethical fashion, and tutorials on making eco-friendly alternatives to cling wrap.
The first workshop I attended was a Q&A session with Tim Flannery. Mr Flannery discussed the need for Carbon Negative technology in order to overcome the impacts of climate change and what is currently being done to develop this technology. Everyone was interested when he discussed seaweed being tested as a possible solution to this problem. This would work in a similar way to how trees take in carbon from the atmosphere but would be much more efficient because of the faster rate at which seaweed grows. Mr Flannery also discussed renewable energy and how it is now often cheaper than non-renewable sources of energy.
The second workshop I took part in was presented by the Islamic Sciences and Research Academy (ISRA). This workshop looked at Islamic beliefs regarding care for the environment and the work of ISRA. One thing I found interesting was the way in which waste and extravagance are discouraged, rather there is a focus on care for creation.
Both workshops were really engaging and gave me a deeper insight into different perspectives regarding care for the environment. Ultimately, the social justice forum was a very informative and enjoyable experience that I would definitely encourage other girls to participate in.
I was fortunate enough to participate in two workshops at the Social Justice Forum. The first workshop explored Aboriginal life in modern Australia and the second workshop, titled Catholic Mission, focused on the devastating impacts of climate change in under-developed countries.
The Aboriginal education workshop focused on how Indigenous Australians pass on their stories and are active members of Aboriginal communities whilst also keeping their religious faith alive and living a ‘modern’ or ‘contemporary’ lifestyle in Australia.
The workshop focused on removing stereotypes and resolving myths that have risen concerning Indigenous Australians individually and on a mass scale. It was great to hear the perspective of a proud Indigenous Australian who represented his culture and country creating justice for his family, friends and culture.
In the second workshop our group broke into three countries, Bangladesh, Artic and Kiribati, as each country has been oppressed by the fast increase of climate change. We acted as members of the United Nations responding to the Pope’s encyclical “One Care For Our Common Home.” We brainstormed possible solutions based off our knowledge and the information provided at the workshop, and addressed the UN demanding their help on a wide and individual scale, short and long term relief.
Individually we can all make a difference to our world and climate change – take the train or better yet walk, use re-usable containers instead of plastic wrap, donate batteries, phones and bras. The school Green team and JPIC team are extremely dedicated to turning the path of climate change around in order to save our future – you too are invited to make the change!
National Reconciliation Week
On Saturday, the 27th May, Australia will celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the 1967 Referendum that changed our constitution to fundamentally improve the lives of Indigenous Australians.
The celebration coincides with National Reconciliation Week and our students have been encouraged to consider the progress Australia has made in recognising the rights of our First People but also to contemplate how far we have to go until we have complete reconciliation across our country.
In 1967, the sections of the Constitution that were the subject of the referendum were:
- The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to:-
…(xxvi) The people of any race, other than the aboriginal people in any State, for whom it is necessary to make special laws.
- In reckoning the numbers of the people of the Commonwealth, or of a State or other part of the Commonwealth, aboriginal natives should not be counted.
On that day, almost 50 years ago, Australia voted overwhelmingly to remove the reference to race and ‘aboriginal people’ in order to achieve equality under Federal law, and to count our Indigenous brothers and sisters as people for the first time. The vote occurred at the height of The Civil Rights Movement and we recorded the highest amount of YES votes in our history – 90.77% of Australians voted for change. They voted for equality.
Today, there is another important progress movement in Australia. A movement that wants to recognise Aboriginal people as the First People of our nation in our Constitution. A YES vote for this change would be a tremendous step towards reconciliation and the righting of past injustices.
I believe our students will soon receive the chance to vote; the chance to vote for equality and recognition and to vote for positive change. It is only a matter of time.
Until then, we can all still make a difference. We can register our support via the RECOGNISE Campaign at www.recognise.org.au and show our leaders that we support this change and we are just waiting for them to lead the way.
Miss Rosanne Timmins
Social Justice Coordinator