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OzGREEN and the Youth Leading the World Congress: Leading positive social change in the Tweed Shire

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This week environmental education charity OzGREEN is hosting a two-day community forum that will empower young people in the Tweed area to come up with innovative solutions for climate challenges. Attwood Marshall Lawyers Property and Commercial Lawyer and OzGREEN facilitator Mieke Elzer explains OzGREEN’s mission and why Attwood Marshall Lawyers are proudly getting behind it.

Summary

As governments worldwide fail to address the human drivers of climate change, the world’s youth are mobilising.

Not-for-profit environmental education charity OzGREEN has called on young social innovators to gather in the Tweed Heads area for its Youth Leading the World Congress on 31 May and 1 June 2023.

The event invites local schools and youth organisations to participate in educational and brainstorming sessions on how they can play their part in fixing the climate crisis.

OzGREEN has a long history of running sustainability programs and this week’s event is aimed at “building a movement of inspired leaders.”

According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, there are currently 1.8 billion young people aged between 10 and 24, making it the largest generation of youth in history. The UN has called young people the agents of change, entrepreneurs and innovators needed to wield their “massive power” and accelerate climate action.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that over the next ten years climate change will drive between 32 million and 132 million more people into extreme poverty and global warming will lead to increased food insecurity and heat mortality. The crux of the latest IPCC report is clear: urgent infrastructure and social, political, and legal action are required to ensure a healthy environment for the next generation.

The Youth Leading the World Congress, and OzGREEN’s other programs align with the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals, which were adopted by all UN member states in 2015. The goals are a call for action to tackle growing poverty, empower women and girls, and address the climate emergency.

Attwood Marshall Lawyers are proud to support OzGREEN’s Youth Leading the World project because we have seen the difference that past events have been making in the lives of youth, in the Northern Rivers area and beyond.

Driving positive social change

Based in Bellingen, a small town in the mid-north coast of New South Wales, OzGREEN has led environmental education and action-oriented programs for the community since 1992.

Co-Founder of OzGREEN Sue Lennox set up the charity after a significant pollution event in 1989 on Greendale Creek and Curl Curl Lagoon. At that time, she worked as a teacher at the local Freshwater High School and realised the potential in young people to be effective educators and motivators of adults. Sue and her husband Colin were invited to India to help the Clean the Ganges campaign and set up OzGREEN when they realised their work at Freshwater High had global applications.

OzGREEN has since been committed to educating people worldwide, enabling them to take action to improve their environment and become leaders of positive social change.

It has been able to train 2,740 sustainability facilitators and leaders, help 863,000 people through its sustainability program, and plant 37,000 trees in critical biodiversity habitats, among several other impressive milestones.

Youth Leading the World events are held in several towns and cities throughout the year. In preparation for the upcoming Tweed Youth Leading the World Congress, OzGREEN is also hosting an information meeting and mentor training session with local schoolteachers and youth workers, which Attwood Marshall Lawyers is proud to host at our Coolangatta office.

Taking place over two days, the Youth Leading the World Congress provides a space for youth aged 10 to 25 to come together and brainstorm ideas for action. Participants are invited to reflect on their own individual ecological footprint and understanding of global challenges related to energy, food, biodiversity, water quality and climate change. Participants will then work together to create their own environmental action plan to present at a forum.

Author’s note – Property Lawyer Mieke Elzer

As part of Attwood Marshall Lawyers’ partnership with OzGREEN, I was fortunate enough to train as an OzGREEN facilitator. Part of the training required me to develop my own action plan for how I can reduce my own personal impact on the earth, and also what role I can play in raising community awareness of climate issues. During my training I was asked to calculate my own individual ecological footprint. The term ecological footprint refers to a measure of the impact that each person or community has on the environment. It is expressed as an amount of land required for that person/community to sustain their use of natural resources. I was quite shocked to learn that if everyone on the planet lived like me, we would need four to five Earths. Since first taking the test, I have managed to reduce my ecological footprint, but it is still large enough that if everyone lived like me, we would need 2.7 Earths. This is a typical story for those in the West, even those like me who lead relatively ecologically sensitive and aware lives. Curious as to what your ecological footprint is? The Global Footprint Network has an online calculator.

I look forward to working alongside OzGREEN’s host of inspiring facilitators. I bring to the program ten years’ experience in property and commercial law, as well as a passion for the emerging area of law known as earth law, which seeks to unpack the current human-centred nature of our current legal frameworks.

I hope to inspire participants with practical legal knowledge and insight into how they can affect the changes they want to see in the world.

Attwood Marshall Lawyers – proudly supporting local charities

Our intent at Attwood Marshall Lawyers is to help people and change their lives for the better. As a community-focussed law firm, we take pride in supporting charities and organisations at a grass roots level.

Attwood Marshall Lawyers has dedicated property and commercial litigation teams experienced in environmental law and general climate action issues. We have a strong social conscience about these areas and can help individuals and organizations affected by government and local council decisions. If you think you may have an action, please contact our Department Manager Amanda Heather on direct line 07 5506 8245 or email aheather@attwoodmarshall.com.au or free call 1800 621 071.

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Mieke Elzer - Lawyer - Property & Commercial

Mieke Elzer

Associate
Property & Commercial

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Disclaimer
The contents of this article are considered accurate as at the date of publication. The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice and is of a general nature only. Readers should seek legal advice about their specific circumstances. 

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