Nelson Mandela said that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. In my nine years at SCEGGS I have constantly been told to question the world around me because by asking questions, we learn about the world in which we live.

Climate change will be the greatest threat to my generation. What scares me most is that the majority of people struggle to understand exactly what climate change is. It is an idea plastered across the front pages of newspapers and thrown around by politicians, but what exactly is it and why should it concern me? I will be voting in the next Federal election along with 60% of current high school girls. Why and how should I consider climate change when casting my ballot and how do I balance the need for jobs and economic security? We ask these questions because, as one of the teenage activists at the UN General Assembly so aptly said, “adults are having a party with the environment and the next generation are stuck with cleaning up”.

I am not the only girl at SCEGGS asking these questions, from the Maailma Environmental Club to the lively debate surrounding the climate strike, we want answers! So, we decided we would start to change the world from inside the Green Gate asking questions to an incredible panel of speakers from a range of different environmental backgrounds on topics ranging from youth’s role in the climate crisis to western moralising.

Jillian Broadbent AC – she received her AC for being a climate fighter and a trailblazer for women. She is an economist who was the inaugural Chair of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Reserve Bank Board Member and is on the boards of Woolworths and Macquarie Bank. We were inspired by the way in which she advocated a gender-neutral response to the climate crisis and so clearly laid out strong economic arguments for facing into the challenges.

Lara Olsen – an engineer and energy executive, who has just returned from working with Tesla Energy, California. She works in renewable energy and was involved with the big zero emissions battery in South Australia. We were astounded that only 13% of engineers are women. After hearing from such an amazing role model as Lara, there are lots of girls now seeing engineering as a great career option.

David Haslingden – Chair of the Australian Geographic Society and WildAid, a conservation organisation. Previously a senior Executive with News Corporation globally and has run the National Geographic channels. He owns and runs a production company that makes natural history and wildlife programs that are shown globally. I think the loudest cheer was when he announced that we must be "revolutionaries" and take charge of our futures.

Martijn Wilder AM – is the founder of Pollination Capital Partners and Chairman of WWF Australia. He is recognised as an international expert in tackling the world’s most pressing environmental issues through the use of innovative legal and financial models. Martijn discussed the idea of fake news, in a world where we have information at the tip of our fingers and anyone can be a journalist, we must be careful of the media we consume, particularly when it comes to understanding and discussing climate and environmental issues.

Hearing from these amazing speakers was an invaluable experience. I would like to thank Ms Allum for her support in helping us address climate change. As SCEGGS girls, we will continue to ask questions, looking for the answers we need, to help change the world, both inside and beyond the Green Gate.

Zoe Brenner
Year 11