14 May
  • By Sylwia
  • Cause in

Meet Victoria’s young environmental leaders

Eco Warriors come in all shapes and sizes, not to mention ages. You do not have to be a seasoned environmentalist with years of experience to make a positive and long-lasting environmental impact.
With judging of the Keep Victoria Beautiful 2018 Sustainable Cities Awards well underway, we look at some of the nominees for the 2018 Young Leaders Award.
This year’s nominees have shown an incredible passion for preserving their local environment and implementing projects and initiatives that will have positive resonance in their community for many years to come.
“These young people are a remarkable example of what can be achieved. Their focus is not only on sustainability and the environment, but also their local community”, said Ron Williamson, 2018 Sustainable Cities Awards judge.
The Young Leaders Award recognises a group or individual aged 25 years or younger who has shown outstanding commitment in taking action in environmental and community initiatives that benefit metropolitan communities.
Brian Winch, a 2018 Sustainable Cities Awards judge believes that the Young Leaders Award is “terribly important”.
“It provides an opportunity for young people who care about the environment, sustainability and community to shine and be recognised. They bring to our attention the up and coming young people who are making a difference. These young individuals are future leaders who influence their peers and community”, said Mr Winch.

2018 SUSTAINABLE CITIES YOUNG LEADERS AWARD NOMINEES

NAME: Chenxin Tu
Multicultural Environment Ambassador
ORGANISATION/INITIATIVE: Port Phillip EcoCentre
Having grown up in rural China, Chenxin Tu developed a deep connection to nature. Her motivation and wish is to see more ways in which we can balance urban life with the natural environment.
Chenxin is a Year 10 student at the Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School and a devoted member of the school’s Environment Committee. During 2016 and 2017, she has been an active volunteer in the Port Phillip EcoCentre’s Be the RE-Generation Program, which is focused on hands-on research and action projects aimed to train young leaders in local biodiversity and pollution issues.
Chenxin participated in and ran activities and ResourceSmart Schools audits at the Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School, which won the Enviro Committee the “Sustainability Leadership Award” at the EcoCentre’s 12th School Sustainability Festival.
She now volunteers as a Multicultural Coastal Ambassador with the EcoCentre, concentrating on opportunities to engage and empower Chinese Australians, including those with no English, in environmental community action; and helping community groups better design practices and programs of inclusive coast care.


NAME: Jonathan Law
ORGANISATION/INITIATIVE: Green Impact, University Of Melbourne Sustainability Team
Jonathan is a current Masters of Environment student at the University of Melbourne, with a key focus in Public Health and Environmental Science. His interest in further studying ecological and nature-based solutions was sparked when studying abroad in Seoul and Shanghai, where population density and environmental challenges were heavily highlighted to him by his local friends.
Currently, Jonathan serves as an assistant biodiversity and sustainability officer at the University of Melbourne.
Green Impact is a change and engagement program, developed in the UK by the National Union of Students (NUS). Piloted for the first time in Australia at the University of Melbourne in 2017, Green Impact has been implemented by over 400 organisations worldwide. The program raises awareness of sustainability within an organisation by giving people a focused approach to tackling issues and supporting them in achieving these actions.
Activities cover a holistic approach to sustainability including: waste and recycling, engagement, energy, water, travel, biodiversity and health & wellbeing. Melbourne University is currently working on methods to quantify the impact of our actions by means of carbon abatement and sequestration.
There is scarce information about the different species that live or use the Melbourne University campus ecosystem. Identifying the species that are around not only helps to create awareness, but also serves as a way of gaining a better understanding of the biodiversity using urban spaces.


NAME: Sam Perkins
ORGANISATION/INITIATIVE: Monitoring Microplastics in Port Phillip Bay
As a Venturer leader for Brighton Sea Scouts, Sam Perkins recognised that there was a regular occurrence of microplastics appearing at the Holloway Bend Beach in Brighton and felt inspired to take action.
Sam recognised the potential to not only have a positive impact on the Bay through increased knowledge of pollution relating to the bay, but also to fulfil the Sea Scouts’ Environmental and Service award requirements. He initiated discussions with Port Phillip Bay Keeper, Neil Blake, to engage fellow Brighton Sea Scouts in using prescribed methods to regularly monitor the beach for micro-plastics and beach sand movement, and had organised data monitoring equipment for ongoing surveys of micro-plastics for his Scout group.
Subsequently, Sam wrote a 34-page report on the monitoring program, including analysis of all data collected. This report provided an invaluable baseline against which future survey results can be compared.
With two years of data from Sam and Brighton Sea Scouts, and increased government and community interest and investment, a media campaign is being developed for late 2018 to spread the issue of micro-plastics pollution.