Raise Our Voice in Parliament – Environment

Imagine the impact when politicians across the nation commit to echoing the concerns and aspirations of our younger generations, speaking their words on the issues that matter most to them.

Let us introduce you to the Raise Our Voice in Parliament initiative.

It’s where the future of Australia meets the present in a collaboration fuelled by passion and purpose, allowing young Australians to be the architects of change. Through collaboration and advocacy, the initiative strives to pave the way for a brighter, more inclusive Australia.

In classic WhyNot style, we love any opportunity to amplify voices and have created a space on our platform for a 5-part series to ensure the voices of the 2023 Raise Our Voice in Parliament campaign are heard.

Help make their voices loud and become a catalyst for progress and transformation.

Content Warning

The following Raise our Voice in Parliament speeches may contain themes that might be difficult to read or triggering to some readers. Readers in need can visit our Creating a Safe Space page to see a full list of support services.

 

To create a safe and prosperous future for Australians, those in power need to prioritise climate action. Climate change is having enormous ecological, economic, and humanitarian consequences, exacerbating issues like homelessness, food insecurity, poverty, and global conflict.

Yet, political parties care more about securing votes than securing our future. You care too much about money and power that you are not doing enough to save us. We have the science, the technology, and the engineering to solve this issue but because you in power do not prioritise them, we are rapidly losing our chance at safety. We need change. We need stronger transparency, accountability, and community voices in the room where it happens.

You in power need to listen and respond to the issues facing your people and commit to the solutions. You need to push forward bold and ambitious climate and social policies, acknowledging the necessity of a global united front against climate change as well as understanding Australia’s part in the solution through net zero accountability, public transport, healthcare, and a more circular economy.

Climate change is the most pressing issue of our times, but we have the knowledge, skills, and resources to reverse its impact. We need the political willpower.

Words by Aisha 

 

Today, I stand before you to address a question of paramount importance: What change would make Australia better for future generations? The answer to this question lies not in a single policy or action, but in a fundamental shift in our mindset and priorities.

To secure a brighter future for Australia, we must prioritise sustainability and environmental stewardship. Climate change is no longer a distant threat; it’s a reality affecting us today and will profoundly impact future generations. We must transition to clean energy sources, reduce carbon emissions, and protect our unique ecosystems. Australia’s natural beauty and biodiversity are invaluable assets that deserve our utmost care.

Furthermore, we must invest significantly in education. Our children deserve access to world-class education and opportunities for lifelong learning. Education equips them with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate an ever-changing world and contribute meaningfully to society.

Additionally, fostering inclusivity and unity is essential. We must celebrate our diverse cultures and backgrounds while promoting social cohesion. A more inclusive Australia is not only fairer but also more resilient and innovative.

In conclusion, a better Australia for future generations demands a commitment to sustainability, education, and inclusivity. Let us work together to leave a legacy that our children and grandchildren can be proud of, an Australia that is thriving, equitable, and environmentally responsible.

Words by Angus

 

My name is Jess, I’m 18 years old and I was raised on Gayamaygal land.

Climate change has forced a generation of Australian children to grow up too soon. We are faced with an increasingly volatile and uncertain world, which cannot offer us the same stability and comfort it once offered our parents. Levels of climate change anxiety are increasing at an alarming rate, with 26% of young people extremely anxious about the effect climate will have on their world.

I was 15 when I first truly felt and understood this anxiety. The Black Summer Bushfires were burning and blistering the country I loved, killing 33 people, and eliminating an estimated 3 billion of Australia’s precious natural fauna. It was impossible to look away, to not feel the pain which rippled through the nation.

I am calling on this government to acknowledge its duty of care to young people. We deserve to be considered and protected in every decision made by this parliament. Gone are the times when politicians can make unilateral decisions without considering the health and wellbeing of current and future Australian children.

To make Australia the best possible place for future generations, a duty of care needs to be legislated to ensure the interests and safety of all Australian young people are at the heart of this parliament’s work.

Words by Jess

 

If we think of society today, there are many issues which will affect future generations. Some examples of these could be deforestation and the bleaching of coral reefs.

Trees are crucial to breathing fresh air and we need to understand this as a country that the more trees being cut, the less fresh air we will have. WWF Australia states that tree clearing has an impact on the health of soil and water – without trees to filter the soil, the soil will travel into water affecting many waterways.

The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s most famous landmarks, being the home to many different creatures. As the coral is bleaching at a fast rate, the future generations will not get to experience the beauty which the reef holds.

As these are just some of the examples of the issues in today’s world, we must think how we can improve or reduce deforestation and the bleaching of the coral reef. Many need to be further educated on these issues as many do not understand the impact and what is being left for future generations.

We need to plant more trees and avoid single use packaging and choose to recycle. We can reduce the rate coral is bleaching by reducing the Co2 being produced. This can be done by using cars less and making electric bikes and scooters more accessible in many places in Australia, as this being done will decrease the Co2 emissions as well as increasing the chances of exercise which helps decrease obesity.

Words by Josie-Ana 

 

Australia’s transition to renewable energy is akin to a beacon of hope for future generations. It represents not just a shift in energy sources, but a promise to safeguard the environment, bolster the economy, and enhance the lives of its people.

From a human perspective, embracing renewables like solar, wind, and hydroelectric power means cleaner air to breathe and a healthier planet to inhabit. It’s about protecting our beautiful landscapes, unique wildlife, and precious ecosystems from the devastating impacts of climate change, such as catastrophic bushfires and extreme weather events.

Economically, this transition translates to more job opportunities for Australians, ensuring that families can put food on the table, and children can dream of brighter futures. Australia’s innovation and expertise in renewable technology mean that it can lead the world in sustainable energy solutions, exporting knowledge and products to benefit others while achieving energy self-sufficiency at home.

Furthermore, renewables offer the prospect of lower energy bills, bringing financial relief and an improved quality of life for individuals and communities. This, in turn, fortifies our energy security by diversifying our energy sources.

Australia’s dedication to renewable energy not only burnishes its international standing but also reflects a shared commitment to protect our planet for generations to come. It’s a journey toward a more prosperous and sustainable Australia, where the wellbeing of its people, the environment, and society harmoniously coexist.

Words by Krishaang. Read aloud in Parliament by Jerome Lexale MP.

 

Our world is dying. Within the next 10 years the world will pass a dangerous temperature threshold which we cannot come back from – unless drastic action happens. Beyond that threshold, natural disasters will become so extreme that people will not be able to adapt, and heat, famines and infectious diseases will claim millions of lives.

Australia ranks eighth highest in the world for its emissions per capita and first for coal power emissions per capita. As a relatively wealthy country who is proud of “punching above its weight” – why has more not been done about the climate crisis?

There has been decades of climate policy inaction and modest targets, thus there is a lot of low hanging fruit for Australia to ratchet up its climate ambition. This includes renewable energy, energy efficiency and transport.

A solution for this climate crisis would be investing more funding into climate change action from the government. It needs to be made more of a priority. The funding that has gone into climate change from the government in Australia has been labelled critically insufficient. If Australia truly wants to carry its weight as a developed country, we need to start investing more and setting more ambitious goals to create a better place for the future generations that want to thrive in this beautiful place.

Words by Lola. Read aloud in Parliament by Senator Waters.

 

Plastic.

Banning, even just dramatically decreasing the production and consumption of plastic would make Australia a better place for future generations. I’m Mila, a 16-year-old from Frankston addressing you, to take action.

Plastic is strangling our earth. Everywhere we walk, plastic surrounds us. Plastics are a constant threat to the health of our planet; they contribute to rising global temperatures, to negative human health and put the future of young Australians at risk.

As a young person, every day when I go to school, when I sit down to study, when I strive towards goals in the aspiration of a successful future, doubts fill my mind. Is there even going to be an Earth I can have a future on? A question I’m sure is on the minds of many others. Anxiety fills me whenever this thought comes to mind. But most importantly the inability to make change is the worst feeling anyone could ever experience.

As I sit here, watching the earth around me surrender to plastic, I feel hopeless. There are no significant bans on plastic, and this makes me, and many others feel desolated. A future overwhelmed by plastic filling the atmosphere, the oceans, and everywhere we inhabit, is already making a presence.

Make a policy to stop this before it becomes too late. Make change. Make a difference. Make every young Australian feel comforted in knowing that plastics will no longer impact our future.

Words by Mila 

 

We are the generation raised on the most advanced technology ever seen by human civilisation. We are among the most educated generation in Australia, and yet, we struggle to be represented where it matters.

We are scared to have children, because we just don’t know whether they will be able to live a prosperous life. Our future is threatened by climate inaction, the overwhelming wealth gap, a lack of support services, and a country unable to address injustices faced by First Nations.

So, what change would make Australia a better place for future generations? A change in mindset and belief in its youth, that we have value in ourselves, and we deserve a prosperous future.

Words by Sian 

 

Today, I stand before you to urge our executive government to take a significant step towards securing a sustainable future for our children and youth by signing the Intergovernmental Declaration on Children, Youth, and Climate Action.

Our nation’s youth are at the forefront of the climate crisis, demanding urgent and decisive action. By endorsing this declaration, we commit to empowering our youth, ensuring their voices are heard, and providing them with the tools and opportunities to actively participate in climate action.

Climate change poses a grave threat to the wellbeing and future prospects of our children. It is our moral duty to prioritise their interests, safeguarding their right to a healthy environment and a sustainable planet. By engaging with international partners through this declaration, we enhance collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and the effectiveness of our collective efforts.

Let us stand united in recognising the critical role our youth play in addressing climate change. Let us pledge to nurture their passion, knowledge, and commitment to building a sustainable world. Together, we can create a legacy of environmental responsibility and ensure a thriving future for the generations to come.

Words by Zac. Read aloud in Parliament by Monique Ryan MP.

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