A rep from the United Nations came along to our youth camp recently to hear about Gen Z’s environment views.

United Nations Youth Representative Lucy Stronach (right) with a Youth Environment Council member.

United Nations Youth Representative Lucy Stronach (right) with a Youth Environment Council member.

What would Australia look like if young people were the key drivers of decision making? That was the question of United Nations (UN) Youth Representative Lucy Stronach to teens at Green Adelaide’s Youth Environment Council (YEC) camp recently.

Lucy visited the YEC camp as part of a UN Listening Tour.

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The tour is an UN initiative to collect views from youth around Australia to share at the General Assembly in New York later this year.

Teens views on the environment

At the YEC’s recent camp teens were given an open forum to raise concerns about the world and their solutions to them.

Ideas discussed included reusing and recycling materials better, learning about bushfires from Aboriginal people, raising awareness about and protecting culturally significant sites, and creating nature corridors for wildlife to reduce roadkill.

What is the YEC?

The YEC is a program for young people in years 7 to 11.

It is a year-long program for teens to develop their leadership, team building and public speaking skills through camps, workshops and forums, while meeting like-minded people who also want to make a difference for the environment.

The program involves students working on an environment or sustainability project from tree plantings and measuring the impact of solar panels to spreading awareness about fast fashion and promoting pet adoption – and everything in between.

A wrap-up is held at the end of the year where students create a display about the projects that they’ve developed.

Students of the program have gone on to be leaders and influencers in the community. For example sustainable home design consultants, hydroelectricity engineers and teachers.

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How to join the next YEC?

YEC is a free annual program for teens.

The next call for applications is expected to open in February 2022. Sixty places will be available.

The program runs from March until November/December. It involves face-to-face and online events, as well as a discussion forum to support students to create change in their school or community.

Find out more on the Youth Environment Council website.

YEC is run by Green Adelaide and the Department for Education.

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