Loss of trees and an increase in the temperature of urban areas is concerning the youth of Kalamunda. Significant areas of trees are on school grounds so it is important that trees and bushlands on schools are protected.

Teachers from six primary and secondary schools in the City of Kalamunda participated in a Millennium Kids Green Lab and Adopt-a-Patch Professional Learning day visiting bush areas and meeting the people involved in conserving them.

The Adopt-a-Patch program supports schools to identify a natural area on their school grounds to conserve. The Green Lab approach to viewing these areas as outdoor classrooms enables teachers to incorporate conservation activities into various learning areas.

The day started with a journey across the City of Kalamunda from the hills to the plains at the base of the Darling Scarp, to help participants gain the big picture of the importance of their school’s green spaces. They met volunteer bush carers and Indigenous Elder Neville Collard to gain perspectives on the history and value of the natural areas and find out about their local patch.

In the afternoon session the value of networking with teachers from other local schools was evident. Activities about recognising, protecting, increasing and monitoring bushland and urban canopy included learning how to

  • map their school patch and assess its value.
  • develop a conservation project and create a Green Lab outdoor classroom.
  • create an inquiry project plan
  • pitch ideas to principals and the school community

By the conclusion of the day participants had identified key focus areas to start to develop their plans and a dateline to contact Millennium Kids and City of Kalamunda to obtain support to bring their projects into action. Schools have submitted planning ideas and  will  work with MK and City to implement these in 2022.

For more information about Green Lab email cathy@millenniumkids.com.au

Since 1996, Millennium Kids has enabled thousands of young people to have their say about the environment, leading to hundreds of inspiring youth-led initiatives that have contributed significantly to the environment and communities in WA and beyond.

The Mandurah Youth Led Deliberation brought together young people to deliberate over the charge: How can we, in Western Australia, collectively tackle climate change while supporting our places to thrive? What does this mean for our region and the way we live? Throughout the day attendees participated in a number of activities which encouraged them to think critically and deliberate over the most viable solutions needed to tackle the climate issues facing Mandurah.

The day began with an introduction to deliberation: how to do it; why it’s important; and why the method is different to what decision makers are currently doing. Next participants got to know each other through a range of introductory activities. Feeling comfortable and connecting with each other in the environment was an important aspect of the day because it enabled the participants to have open discussions and also develop strong relationships with like minded individuals. Following this, participants were further educated about the climate issues facing our region through a series of videos. The young people then had the opportunities to ask questions to a number of climate experts in the room.

It is important to note that the Mandurah event also had some adults attend and participate. However, lead facilitators separated participants who were under 25, with participants who were over 25, to ensure that the creative process of the younger participants was not hindered.

After the learning about the issues, participants began a “World Café” activity. This involved getting into small groups and identifying the changes that they felt needed to be made, both to their region as well as individually.

Using the challenges they identified, the participants then used an Affinity Diagram to organise the ideas collected and selected the top two priorities for each question: What changes does our region need to make and what changes do we need to make to the way we live. The solutions were further discussed and a list of actions which the young people believed needed to be actioned was then outputted.

Following deliberation, critical thinking and extensive questioning, the participants decided that the changes needed to be made to the way we lived were increasing conscious consumption through education and incentives as well as reducing the purchase of new clothing and reusing already owned clothing through introducing a clothing version of Containers for Change, handing down clothes and education.

The young people decided that the changes needed to be made to our region included: further educating the community about Climate Change and improving ocean biodiversity through an Adopt a Dolphin program and providing incentives to collect waste.

 

For a link to the full report click Mandurah Youth Led Deliberation on Climate Change (4)

The MK collaboration with the Sumbawa not for profit Yayasan WeSAVE has gone from strength to strength over the last year, despite the constraints of COVID – 19. Although we have not been able to visit, or bring any of their member to Perth for training, much has been achieved.

Our fund raising for the collaboration has now raised thirty thousand dollars, thanks to a ten thousand dollar donation from the Owen Francis Foundation, and two very generous private donations. These donations have enabled us to pay a deposit on some land, and begin the construction of our first school. The land and school are now in use, and are a hive of activity.

We had done the ground work for this project over the last few years, when we looked at several pieces of land and worked through the pros and cons of each with the WeSAVE team.

This land use assessment training set the parameters for what constituted a suitable site, through consideration of cost, access, utilities, and a range of environmental factors.

Because of these extensive on ground discussions, we were very confident when they told us they had found a site.

The joy of modern communications has allowed us to share in the process with regular video updates of progress. WeSAVE submitted detailed costings for all work and materials, and then in their usual fashion achieved a bigger and better building with the money we sent through. The MK training in project planning, management and accountability are evident in the detailed records and receipts we receive covering our contributions, facilitating acquittal of the donations.

The WeSAVE video updates showing legions of volunteer young people carrying materials to the site, and hand batching and carting concrete for pouring the floor are heart-warming. We are about to send up the next building payment which will see doors and windows added and the walls plastered. More than just a school, the site is evolving incredibly quickly into the sort of education precinct we have so often visualised. A quick video tour sent through recently showed extensive vegetable gardens established, fruit trees being planted, animal husbandry of goats and small livestock. We saw an upgrade of the grey water system under construction. Within the new building several classes were underway, with young women not only learning, but leading and teaching.

A well has been sunk and a pump installed, and discussions are now turning to the design and installation of a renewable power system for the site. The building has been constructed with a reinforced concrete roof in preparation for the addition of a second story when time and resources permit

In short, we now have our first Millennium Kids School. It is abuzz, and waiting for the opportunity to host exchange classes when we can get there. We will continue to fund raise for this group, as they are so inspirational, doing so much for so many with so little.

Wayne O’Sullivan

Yayasan We SAVE Partnerships Lead

We are super excited to announce Cat is a WA Nominee in Local Hero 2022 Australian of the Year Awards

For more than 25 years, Catrina (Cat) Aniere has empowered young people to use their voice to tackle the big issues the world is facing – including climate change, education, racism, sustainability or plastic waste.

As CEO of Millennium Kids, a youth-led empowerment organisation based in Western Australia, Cat recognises that young people have the creative ideas, innovative thinking and problem-solving skills needed to face the challenges of the 21st century. However, they sometimes need a little support to be the innovators they are born to be.

From a foundation group of only a few school students and teachers in 1999, Millennium Kids has grown to involve several dozen schools and thousands of students around Australia. It now also has two branches overseas.

Adopting an approach of teaching ‘skills for life’, Cat has inspired young people to become leaders; to activate change and use their voices within their communities to create a fairer, better future for us all.

We are super excited to announce that our Green Lab program has been selected as a winner of theUpLink – Economic Forum
#GenerationRestoration Youth Challenge along with 13 other youth initiatives from around the world!
Our youth led Green Lab program aims to protect, monitor and increase canopy across the Greater Perth metropolitan area. Check out our story along with the other winners here.
Thanks to major partners: 1t.org Salesforce

to restoring nature!

 

India Aniere, Millennium Kids member and facilitator, met up with Elizabeth PO and Adrian Glamorgan from Understory this week to talk about our work to engage with young people about climate change through a deliberative democracy process. India and a team of young people have been working alongside Prof Janette Hartz-Karp to learn about the citizen assembly and deliberative democracy process in 2020 – 2021. The team of Millennium Kids have engaged with young people in:

  • Mundaring
  • Karratha
  • Bunbury

to learn about climate change and plan a positive pathway to change.  India speaks hear with the team from Understory to share the story of the process. The team will present their findings at the Australian Association for Environmental Education Inc National Conference in Mandurah and hope to run a Citizen Assembly process across WA in 2022.

PS: You will also hear from ecologist dad Steve McCabe, and his eleven year old son, talk about ways to engage young people and nature.

Check out the interview here. 

The United Nations Food Systems Summit was an excellent opportunity to share the Millennium Kids Citizens Assembly journey where we were able to report on the outcomes of our deliberative discussion process with young people across WA.

The purpose of the food summit was to generate ideas and solutions surrounding the food security issues challenging WA. Attendees came from an extensive range of backgrounds. There were university professors, tech-startups and councillors. My group was tasked to discuss ideas for how to improve the utilisation of food. The group was very impressed with the work Millennium Kids was doing and collectively agreed that having discussions with community members about their thoughts and ideas would be the most appropriate solution. The results from the discussions are being presented at a United Nations Conference. It is great to see people being inspired by the deliberative discussion process because it allows all members of the community, especially young people, to have a say in discussions which have historically happened behind closed doors without consultation.

 

Written by Bella P

Etiko is a Fairtrade fashion company intent on creating social change for the people who make their clothing, while also demonstrating the possibilities of ethical fashion. The brand ensures their products are ethically produced, from the way the cotton is grown to the final product you see in-store. The cotton used for their products is organic and Fairtrade certified, their fabric scraps are recycled to produce paper, and all their workers are paid a living wage instead of a government-sanctioned minimum wage. It is fair to say that Etiko is an industry leader when it comes to ethical fashion.

On Monday the 14th of June, we had the pleasure of interviewing the founder of Etiko, Nick Savaidis. He told us that when he was young, ethical fashion was virtually non-existent. He talked about how his mum used to work very hard, for a very small amount of money, and the company she worked for would make a large profit from paying their workers so little. This drove him to learn more about fast-fashion, and from that eagerness, Etiko was born.

When asked about the next steps fashion brands need to take to create a more sustainable future, Mr Savaidis said clothing brands need to start taking responsibility for their products at the end of its lifecycle. “I think any manufacturer should consider what happens to their product when it is no longer needed,” Mr Savaidis explained. “At Etiko, we have implemented a take-back program for our rubber thongs and sneakers where we reward customers for returning their old shoes and we then send those shoes to a local company that recycles the rubber.” Etiko will soon implement a similar recycling program for their clothing range, with the exception of underwear.

We then asked Mr. Savaidis how his company offsets their carbon emissions. He said that brands should be minimising their co2 emissions firstly, then offsetting the emissions which can’t be avoided. To minimise emissions he said clothing brands should avoid using plastic packaging and prioritise the use of natural textiles like cotton and hemp over polyester and other synthetics. To offset their emissions, Etiko partners with a Timor Leste social enterprise called Carbon Social.

We talked about why school uniforms should be made from natural textiles instead of polyester.

“In recent years, many schools have transitioned to polyester school shirts. But when polyester is washed, it sheds microfibres which are tiny pieces of plastic that enter our waterways,” explained Mr Savaidis. “Microfibres are the largest source of human-made debris found on our shorelines, and it’s a form of pollution that easily enters our food chain via fish and drinking water. Considering about 3.65 million Australian children wear and wash multiple synthetic uniforms every week, this is an area with substantial environmental impact.”

Talking to Nick was very interesting and the whole team who was there for the interview found it very rewarding and learnt a lot about the ethical fashion industry. Etiko is a truly incredible fashion brand, and is very serious about its intentions in being ethical and sustainable. If you want to learn more, or are interested in buying from them you can check their website out here.

 

Article and Interview by Bronte Wolfe

On 1st and 3rd September MK, in partnership with City of Bayswater, the City of Kalamunda and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, delivered Green Lab Professional Learning days for teachers, principals and gardeners from 13 schools in two local government areas.

Each day participants boarded a bus to travel through the LGA to gain perspective of the canopy and existing bushland and other significant green spaces. They met volunteers and workers who shared their roles in conserving these significant places.

In the City of Bayswater we were joined by Mayor Dan Bull who acknowledged that the learning day supported teachers in developing their own educational greening initiatives in schools.

“Schools have an opportunity to make a real difference to maintaining and increasing urban tree canopy as a number of significant trees are located on school grounds,” he said.

“The aim of the learning day is to equip teachers with the knowledge and tools to replicate activities and implement sustainability projects in their own school which will help address the impacts of climate change at a local level.”

“By embedding greening projects into the curriculum, schools can help the City address the metropolitan-wide decline in tree canopy and help combat the heat island effect.” City  of Bayswater Mayor Dan Bull.

In the City of Kalamunda, at Lesmurdie Falls, participants walked through the landscape as Neville Collard gave us an Indigenous perspective on how they moved through the landscape from the hills to the ocean.  In the afternoons schools developed plans to initiate their Green Lab school projects. Four schools have already submitted plans and contacted MK to discuss their next steps.

Yay for trees!

Photo courtesy City of Bayswater

 

 

We were super excited to have had the Commonwealth Bank team drop by with a CommBank Grant of $500.00 for our Green Lab teams last week. One of their staff members heard about the work of Millennium Kids and decided we were worthy recipients for their monthly grant. ( A million thanks to that lovely staff member!)

On 4th June 2021 the CommBank team met teachers and students from Curtin PS, Kensington PS and Applecross PS at the Manning Community Centre who were there for a day of citizen science activities.

The program was supported by Jos from Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Marnie from Eco Gecko – Environment and Design, Heather, Cathy, Patrick, Niamh and Hannah from Millennium Kids  and Bella from Noodle, with students learning new skills to help protect, monitor and increase canopy through care of their local bush patch. Over the day teachers and students worked together to create a plan for their school bushland which Millennium Kids will support through capacity building workshops and incursions over the next 12 months through a grant from State Natural Resource Management.

On World Environment Day 5th June  2021 students and teachers visited Goss Ave Bushland with City of South Perth staff to plant local species for the Banksia Woodland site. The site is adjacent to bushland at Curtin PS and the students are super keen to help the community understand how important the area is for local species. It was a special day as a number of red tailed cockatoos flew over us all as we planted.

Wesley College Junior School and Manning PS also  took part in workshops at their school sites earlier in the year. If you want to know about how to get involved in Green Lab in your local area email cathy@millenniumkids.com.au

Green Lab, a Millennium Kids Citizen Science program, is funded by the Western Australian Government’s State Natural Resource Management Program and Federal Governments Communities Environment Program in the City of South Perth.

Millennium Kids works in collaboration with Sustainable Schools WA to support schools sustainability goals.