PEOPLE GET READY.
THEY CARE ABOUT the environment and they act on their concerns in a range of ways. Young people learn about environmental issues through education, the media and their peers, they form networks, they live sustainable lifestyles and take an active role in campaigns. They are not afraid to challenge governments or business on proposals that threaten the environment and their beliefs.
Young people can join with ACF to act on their environmental concerns. Staff, volunteers and councillors together hold a wealth of knowledge and expertise. But our best campaigns are conducted with strong public support and participation. In particular, ACF is looking to increase our involvement with young people and help them to become active and empowered.
During the 1970s ACF began to operate with more input from democratic Council meetings. This meant adopting a more inclusive approach that provided opportunities for younger activists and placed a greater focus on community campaigns.
Now, in the '90s, there are thousands of young people committing their time and energy to the environment movement. The Stop Jabiluka campaign is a fantastic example of an issue that young people have pushed forward with their energy and passionate commitment. Of the 5000 people who travelled to the blockade at Jabiluka last year, the majority were under 30 years of age.
They have organised rallies and stalls, and raised thousands of dollars for the campaign through benefit gigs and other events. One great example in 1998 saw a dozen cyclists ride from Melbourne to Kakadu. This is the type of energy and initiative that young people bring to the environment movement.
If you would like to become more active as a younger ACF member, you could do any of the following:
* join ecopoli, which informs you about current environment issues and helps you to lobby politicians with the facts
* distribute information about ACF campaigns to people at your school or at your workplace
* nominate yourself, or any other ACF member, in Council elections. As an ACF Councillor, you are in a position to represent other young members and determine ACF policy
* let ACF know about your own environmental activities or ideas and have them published on our website at www.acfonline.org.au
* network with conservationists around the country and campaign on the issues you care about.
To get involved or find out more about being young at ACF, please call Kellee Nolan, ACF Youth Liaison Officer on Ph: (03) 9926 6702 or 1800 332 510.
NUS and ACF get cracking
The National Union of Students (NUS) has recently had its attention focused on the government's anti-student-organisation legislation, Voluntary Student Unionism.
The implications of VSU for the environment movement are quite serious, as a large amount of grassroots work is performed by students. To combat this, links have been strengthened between NUS and ACF to ensure a viable and effective partnership, including sharing resources for projects like the Australian Student Environment Network.
An exciting upcoming project revolves around the week beginning 17 July, which will focus on nuclear issues and include a bus trip from the Sydney nuclear reactor to the proposed waste dump site in South Australia.
ACF has helped motivate students and keep the environment a `live' issue by providing speakers and information all around Australia. Thanks go to all ACF campaigners for their constant support.
Students and Sustainability 1999
`S&S' is Australia's premiere environmental forum for students. With guest speakers, workshops, seminars and field trips, the week-long conference attracts students, academics, community representatives, high profile environmentalists and grass-root activists from around Australia. This year the Richmond campus of the University of Western Sydney-Hawkesbury will host the conference from 12-16 July. The theme is `Making it happen', with an emphasis on contemporary, practical examples of sustainable living and skill sharing. For more information, or to be a sponsor contact Grant Rider, Conference Coordinator, on Ph: (02) 4578 1202.
Scott Alderson is the National Environment Officer, NUS.