Last week I had the privilege of traveling to Canberra for a round table meeting to meet with other young land carers to discuss the needs of young people to act and lead on stuff that matters to them, their communities and ultimately, the environment.
Facilitated by Lynne Strong, National Director of Art 4 Ag, among many more things, and attended by Anna Rose, Josh Gilbert, Laura Phelphs, Megan Rowlatt and myself, it was great to kick-back, drink a lot of coffee and share our stories to stitch together patterns and opportunities that have shaped our environmental successes.
It is interesting to note that a key theme for all our stories was being inspired from an early age, being kids exploring nature. However, as we became more aware of the environment and its issues, we experienced environmental injustices (e.g. droughts, species extinction, vegetation clearing, climate change), which compelled us to do something – anything to turn the injustices into justices.
For instance, for Megan, it was her connecting with her local Landcare group to test cool ideas to inspire young people in her community to volunteer with Landcare. Or for Anna, it was being pulled into campaign meetings early on to learn the ropes of campaigning against coal.
Another key theme was getting some wins on the board in the beginning. We are all fuelled by successes and young people want to feel like they are winning, especially, against injustices. This got me thinking about the importance of designing for success to ensure the beginning of any young person’s leadership journey in environmental campaigning must start with a win. Yet, at the same time, recognising the value of failing because we all learn [better] from our mistakes.
So, how can we design for success and learn from our mistakes?
- Craft stories that will inspire young people
- Set short-term goals that are achievable within bigger picture projects
- Make sure the bigger picture captures the dreams of young people
- Connect mentors and change agents to young people so that they can access know-how and networks
- Continually acknowledge and use this process to reflect that improves efficiencies
Where to from here?
Art 4 Ag has designed an epic Young Sustainability Ambassadors program to equip the next generation of environmental influencers. We expect this program to open its doors next year, so if you are young keep an eye out for the applications. And if you have money and are keen to support the next generation of environmental influencers contact Lynne J
Above all, my involvement last week wouldn’t have happened without the backing of QWaLC, my state Landcare network. Thank you for supporting my involvement and getting behind initiatives that empower young people to act and lead with Landcare. Young people need backing to turn injustices into justices.