RCE Tasmania - 2019

Youth Engagement and Education for Sustainability and Climate Change
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Youth Engagement and Education for Sustainability and Climate Change
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Tasmania
Contributing organization(s) : 
University of Tasmania, Department of Education, Greening Australia
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Ruth Osborne
Organizational Affiliation: 
Education for Sustainability Tasmania
Format of project: 
Community engagement
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Geographical & Education Information
Hobart, Launceston, Burnie - Tasmania
Address of focal point institution for project: 
c/- Sustainability Learning Centre
50 Olinda Grove, Mount Nelson TAS 7007
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
the area :
Tasmania is a small island state with a rich cultural and natural heritage, including a high biodiversity, abundant fertile soil, water, clear air and renewable energy (hydroelectricity). However, Tasmania faces distinctive sustainability challenges associated with its remoteness, its weak economy (the weakest in Australia ) historically relying on exploitation activities (e.g., old growth forest logging, damming and mining), and its high levels of socioeconomic disadvantage. Tasmania has the most regional and dispersed population of any state in Australia, with 58% of the population living outside the greater capital city area.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
Socio economic issues include high levels of poverty, low education levels, low ethnic diversity and impacts of colonisation on Aboriginal culture and heritage. Many threats, mostly of anthropogenic nature, are challenging the Tasmanian environment. These include the effects of climate change, threats to biodiversity from illegal activities; introduction and spread of non-indigenous species; and increasing infrastructure and tourism development.
January, 2019
In the face of climate change, pollution, habitat loss, biodiversity loss, and all the associated social, economic and ecological issues, it is imperative that young people feel empowered to face these challenges and take an active role in forming the solutions. This must come through robust educational initiatives which not only teach about global environmental and social issues, but which also helps young people build capacity for problem solving, collaboration, creativity, compassion, and other skills to foster resilient and aware communities. By bringing together institutions including schools and government, experts in a variety of fields, community members and local organisations, this kind of holistic education can be effectively facilitated to engage the next generation of sustainable world leaders. A truly sustainable future for all lies in the hands of the younger generation so we must focus energy and resources into ensuring they are prepared and supported with the skills and understanding to make positive change in our systems of governance, make breakthroughs in science and technology, and make our world more inclusive and equitable for all.
Educate young students about the array of environmental and social issues facing Tasmania.
Encourage students to discover how their role in these dilemmas and their role in the potential and ongoing solutions.
Empower students with skills, capacity, and knowledge to engage in sustainable solutions on individual, community, and political levels
Activities and/or practices employed: 
Kids4Kids Conference: There is No Planet B - A multi-day conference took place in three locations across the state of Tasmania in November 2019, promoting the teaching and learning of all things sustainability. Schools around each region were invited to bring students to the conference as audience and/or presenters. Each day of the conference offered a variety of workshops presented both by partner organisations as well as the classes themselves.

Tasmanian Youth Climate Leaders Conference - Held in March 2019 with follow up forums in September, engaging youth leaders in Hobart, Launceston and Burnie. Over 400 students participated from 30 different schools State-wide, working alongside more than 40 community mentors and 30 teachers on practical projects to support sustainability and help reduce the impacts of climate change. A key outcome of the Climate Change Youth Leaders program is in enhancing the leadership capacity and communication skills of young Tasmanians, to build awareness of climate change and share learnings and successes. Four students who participated in the program are representing Tasmania at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP25 in Madrid, December 2019.
Size of academic audience: 
Kids4Kids sutainability conferences - In Hobart, there were a total of about 600 students in attendance from 12 Primary and Secondary schools; in Launceston there were a total of about 175 students from 5 schools; and in Burnie there were about 200 studen
Kids4Kids sutainability conference - Students enthusiastically engaged in a variety of workshops which focused on Aboriginal education, controlling the feral cat population, to food systems, river and ocean pollution, composting, papermaking, biodiversity and habitat protection, waste management, and more. Additionally, a large portion of classes in attendance also participated as presenters for other classes. Student presentations ranged from native species, virtual reality and 3D printing technology, renewable energy, native species and more. Students also participated in a Swap Meet. Each student brought gently used toys or clothing and had the opportunity to trade for other students’ items which encouraged reducing consumption, reusing, and reducing landfill waste.
Lessons learned: 
Student’s feedback from Climate Leaders Conference “It was an amazing opportunity to meet inspiring and like-minded people who were ready for and enthusiastic about making positive change in our local, national and global community. Meeting people who could help because of their areas of expertise, or school students who had faced similar struggles and had advice to offer was incredibly useful. The program was amazing, prompting so many critical conversations within a safe and welcoming space. I learned heaps, got to connect with amazing leaders young and old, and even though my school community isn’t completely on board yet, I got to share my struggles and find some new strategies to go about making change! It was awesome!”
Key messages: 
Bringing together a community of teachers, learners, organizations, institutions, and local experts to collaborate and share ideas about making a more sustainable future. Also important, is empowering young people and students to actively be a part of the discussion, participate in sustainability solutions, and recognize that they - as individuals within society - have the ability to make a difference.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
These activities leverage from the ongoing formal and informal educational programs and initiatives of the network members and contribute to the annual collaborative impact of Education for Sustainability Tasmania.
Funding is primarily provided through UNRCE members University of Tasmania, Department of Education and Greening Australia


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon Climate leaders conference.jpg (2.14 MB) Student participants in Tasmanian Youth Climate Leaders Conference Nel Smit
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls 
SDG 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all 
SDG 7 - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all 
SDG 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
SDG 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development 
SDG 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss 
SDG 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels 
Curriculum Development 
Plants & Animals 
Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development – Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Building capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Empowering and mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level