AUSTRALIAN YOUTH ACTIVISM ON CLIMATE CHANGE

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7 june 2009

Youth speak out on climate change goals

Ben Cubby, Environment Reporter, Sydney Morning HeraldldJune 7, 2009

BROOKE SATCHWELL'S life is a staple of glossy magazines but in her own time the actor has been ploughing through the Garnaut report - the weighty, 600-page tome outlining the economic impact of climate change on Australia.

"I was forewarned it was going to be a very dry read but it's not, actually, it's very interesting," she said.

Along with other prominent young Australians, including swimmer Ian Thorpe, Satchwell is participating in Power Shift, the biggest climate-change conference for young people yet seen in Australia.

Thousands of people from around the country and overseas, most of them aged under 25, will converge in Sydney next month to discuss climate change, "green jobs" and greenhouse gas cuts.

The event is drawing people from a range of backgrounds, from Greenpeace to the Liberal Party, with strong rural representation.

Satchwell said young people often felt left out of discussions on climate change, even though they were more likely than the current political leaders to see the unfolding effects of a warmer, drier planet.

"It's also a complex, confusing area … so it's going to be about educating and empowering people," Satchwell said. "I'm not an expert on climate change, but I'm trying to put my money where my mouth is and get an understanding of the issues."

The event was organised by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, which has the goal of shifting the national debate on climate change towards more ambitious greenhouse gas cuts and less reliance on burning coal for electricity.

"The people who are being listened to in the climate change debate the most are the industry lobbyists," the group's co-director, Anna Rose, said. "It's called 'Power Shift' because we want to rework the way power is being exercised in Australia." The conference will take place at the University of Western Sydney's Parramatta campus from July 11 to 13.




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