The Youth Environment Council of South Australia: youth working together to make a difference
Youth Environment Council (YEC) of South Australia provides advice to the State Government about the environmental perspectives of young people, and supports young people to be active in caring for the environment.
The Youth Environment Council (YEC) of South Australia is run by young people for young people. Council members range in age from 10 to 21 years.
The Ministers for Education and Environment announced the formation of the YEC at the 1997 state-wide Department of Education and Children's Services Sustainable Living Student Forum. As a Government advisory council, the YEC's role is to provide advice to the Government about the environmental perspectives of young people and to support young people to be active in caring for the environment.
In February of 2000, the Youth Environment Council of South Australia launched the 'YEC Community Plan'. This document is a set of guidelines for establishing youth driven environmental action projects.
In 2001 the YEC developed the Youth for Environmental Action Workshops (Y4EA) to ensure that the 'Community Plan' was implemented. The two-day workshop continues to operate. Like the Council, it is run by young people for young people, and includes presentation and project management sessions, and networking with environmental experts to help participants to initiate and develop their own environmental projects. Through participating in a Y4EA workshop, young people develop the leadership, project management and team work skills needed for the success of their projects.
Another workshop developed by the Youth Environment Council is the Youth Action for Sustainability (YAFS) workshop. This workshop was designed for adults who wish to work effectively with young people. Workshop participants learn about strategies that the YEC uses to engage the interest of young people. The YEC also helps to organise effective mentoring of young people to maintain their involvement and enthusiasm.
Promoting and encouraging a youth voice is a significant part of the YEC's work. The YEC believes that the opinions of young people need to be heard, and that young people need to be included in decision making processes if society is to move towards a sustainable future.
Over the past 7 years, the YEC has had many opportunities to provide a voice for young people. These opportunities have included invitations to present at national and international conferences, environmental events, roundtable forums and workshops. For example, YEC representatives have attended the World Youth Summit on Sustainability held in Holland in 2002, and the 2004 National Summit on the Future of Australia's Cities and Towns. They have also given keynote addresses at the 2002 and the 2004 Australian Association for Environmental Education biennial National conferences.
The YEC is always interested to hear from young people who are committed to caring for the environment. If you know of anyone who may want to be involved in the YEC please let us know. You may also contact:
Department for Environment and Heritage
Ph: 08 8226 4829
Department of Education and Children's Services
Ph: 08 8226 4312