The Youth Climate Network is a space for young people living in the Loddon Mallee region to connect with other like-minded people, share information and learnings, and have their voice heard on the issue of adapting to climate change in their local communities.

Collaboration and co-design are key principles of the Youth Climate Network. We cannot assume to know what young people think or how they want to address this problem. The Network is a safe channel to ensure that their opinions are heard, validated and that they are active partners in decision making that will affect their futures.

The Youth Climate Retreat was a starting point to engage young people in the conversation on climate change adaption and understand how we can best support them. It sought to create connections between young people living in Loddon Mallee and empower them with the skills and confidence to communicate and facilitate change in their communities and amongst their peers.

The Youth Climate Network will continue to foster the momentum that the Youth Climate Retreat has begun whilst building the leadership capacity of our future leaders,

Read on to find out what happened at the Youth Climate Retreat.

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Youth Climate Retreat Review

In January 2020, ADAPT Loddon Mallee kicked off the first of its four initiatives with the Youth Climate Retreat.

24 young people (aged 15-24) representing communities across the Loddon Mallee Region gathered in Bendigo and spent the weekend participating in a co-design workshop, facilitated by YLab. The co-design process was used to ensure that young people living in the Loddon Mallee region are active partners in decisions around adapting to climate change that will directly impact their future.

“Climate change does impact health, which is why I wanted to get involved. I know it can increase infectious diseases, such as malaria, and it also impacts people who are in disadvantaged situations. This includes the elderly community and people with asthma, for example. In turn it will affect the economy because people with illnesses are less likely to go to work” – Jemima Lotika

Over the weekend, participants gained skills in systems mapping and prototyping as they developed ideas and projects that will engage other young people in the conversation on climate change adaptation as well as shaping the way we engage with them on this topic in the future.

Participants participated in a Wayapa workshop delivered by Rowena Price and tried their hand at basket-weaving with Dja Dja Wurrung elder, Auntie Marilyne Nicholls.

“It would be very beneficial for our area [Mildura] moving forward if we were able to help the farmers out and move to more sustainable agriculture and horticulture techniques and regenerative farming. This would help with future food security and adapting to our changing climate” – Emma Johnson

There was also ample opportunity for participants to meet and connect with other like-minded young people living in their area.

The participants proved to be an inspiring bunch and brought with them an impressive knowledge and insight into the issue of climate change adaptation. There were many creative ideas and a positive attitude towards the future despite the doom and gloom perspective that often frames climate change conversations.

“[the Youth Climate Retreat] gives young people like us a voice and a say in our future” – Anthony Mammone

What’s next?

Following the retreat, the Youth Climate Network was formed by participants to continue to collaborate on projects and extend their knowledge and skills to other motivated young people. ADAPT Loddon Mallee will continue to work with the young people to further develop their projects and provide funding and support to enable these projects to become actions.

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Principle Partner

ADAPT Loddon Mallee is proud to partner with YLab, a social enterprise of the Foundation for Young Australians. Y-lab is experienced in working with young people from all over Australia aged 12-29 years and have built Australia’s largest community of young changemakers. They have an existing social media community of 150,000+ and 50,000+ website visits each month. Y-Lab have experience in putting young people’s time and talent at the centre of collaborations with government, business, and community organisations to rethink future systems and influence issues that relate directly to them, recognising that they are experts in their own lives. Y-Lab operates nationally and has extensive networks with regional and rural community groups in Victoria.

Principles

Diversity
Engage a diverse range of regional youth, including representatives from different cultural, social, economic, environmental and political perspectives.

Equity
Provide a supportive environment for all participants to have their views, attributes and contributions recognised.

Trust
Confidence that young people have an understanding of their own communities and peers and are best placed to develop an appropriate engagement approach.

We acknowledge the First Peoples of the Loddon Mallee and their/our longstanding, rich and resilient cultures, rights and responsibilities to Country, and genuinely pay respect to their/our knowledge holders, leaders, Elders past, present and future.