It is wonderful to have the opportunity to read how young people are dealing with the challenges of our world today, which is seemingly becoming more complex by the day.
Tara Tolhurst, a young university student, has already experienced in her lifetime a flood which destroyed much of her township, a long drought, and devastating bushfires.
Now, to top it off, she is dealing with a pandemic, which has changed the landscape for university learning, as it has in so many other areas.
Tara has become a passionate advocate for climate change, and she became involved in helping write a report titled ‘Our world, Our Say’. This report gave young people a voice on issues of climate change related disasters. The youth report was sponsored by World Vision and the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience. 1500 young people were surveyed for the report and an overwhelming 90 per cent had experienced natural hazards.
As Tara reported, schools were teaching of earthquakes and volcanoes while the reality of these young people was droughts, fire, and flooding rains. School curriculums need to better reflect the realities of the lives of Australian students, and Tara believes young people need more education about how these hazards affect their lives.
Science has shown clearly that the climate crisis exacerbates the severity of disasters and there is a critical need to take real action to address the climate crisis as part of prevention.
Tara has given a message to the government:
- Please take the advice of scientists, experts, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and others who live on and know the land.
- The climate crisis requires multi-level solutions so begin working together to come up with solutions, set ambitious goals and begin to take real action at local, national, and international level.
- The Convention for the Rights of Children states clearly that children have a right to a say about decisions affecting them. Young people are the future.
- We must act now before we pass the tipping point.
As Tara has said ‘We are the ones who will be grappling with hotter temperatures, cyclones, floods and bushfires all our lives. This planet is our home. Together we can create a climate safe future.
Ref: Tara Tolhurst
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