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Boarding Prefect, Georgia, gave this powerful speech about human-induced climate change and the ongoing impact the drought is having on Australian families and communities.
“I was thinking about this speech and our initiative, ‘Fear-less’, and personally, I didn’t really consider myself to be fearless. But there’s no time like the present to start! As Jade said in her speech last week, 20 seconds of courage is all you need. And since this is the Boarders’ Assembly, I thought there are no better people to talk about than boarders.
Doing something that scares you is obviously never easy, and boarding is no exception. A few nights ago, I was putting the juniors to bed, bringing an end to the dance lessons and TikToks, and I was talking to them about boarding and what they thought made them individually fearless. They spoke about living and sharing their lives with others, being independent, and not having their family around, in addition to the cruel and sad reality that we spend more time at school than our homes.
Although I am going against the advice of many to make my speech light-hearted and funny,
I have decided to talk about something I am passionate about. I feel very lucky to have this opportunity to speak to you all. I had a discussion with some people last weekend who felt that the older generations should not be scaring our generation with talk of climate change as it would make us fearful for our future. I disagree! I think we should be talking about it. I believe that a healthy dose of fear should not paralyse us, but instead force us into action. Courage isn’t the absence of fear, rather the ability to act in the presence of fear, and I believe that fear is sometimes necessary because it motivates us to do something.
As many of you may recall, last year we held a fundraiser for drought-affected communities and for this I want to say a big thank you. However, in talking to people, I realised that many of us don’t realise that the drought is continuing to affect many parts of Australia. Unfortunately, no amount of money or best wishes will make it rain. In the past few years there has been a rise in farmers taking a stand on human-induced climate change, as they are feeling the direct results and notice change before others. This often falls on deaf ears. It is always easier to sit and do nothing. I woke up this morning and saw that it was raining…kinda! Unfortunate timing, considering what I am talking about. So, I thought I would bust a common myth that I, like many other people, didn’t realise existed. Just because it rains in Sydney, doesn’t mean it is raining across Australia. What’s more, one rainfall will not break a drought!
This year in the wheat bowl of New South Wales, there will be very little wheat harvested, a harsh reality that those who live there have had to accept. But you might not see the effect yet. Stockpiles can even out supply, but after three years of drought, even these stockpiles are under pressure. On my fridge we have a sticker that says, ‘No farms, no beer’, emphasising the extent to which we rely on agriculture.
Two people that I think are fearless - who have no idea I am saying this as they probably wouldn’t want me to - are my parents. Aside from dealing with a lot, they also don’t have me. So that obviously is the hardest part of all. It’s easy to remove the people from the situation, but I come from one of many families - as do many other boarders - who are experiencing first-hand the effects of this change. I am no expert and I understand that climate change isn’t necessarily always creating droughts, but it is increasing, worsening and prolonging them, something that will only continue with time. I could stand here and tell you the statistics and give you the evidence, but I think we all know that it’s happening. Now it’s time to do something about it.
Farmers in Australia have been at the forefront of adapting to low water environments, but as the last few years have shown, you can only adapt so far. The population in rural Australia is small. We need people in urban areas to listen to the message about human-induced climate change and think of it in relation to food security. We need proactive policies instead of being a reactive society. And we can all do little things in our everyday lives to protect valuable resources such as food and water. Now more than ever it is important to be educated and informed. Let’s not be fearful of this, but instead be fearless in using our voices, and importantly, our actions to ensure a better future for everyone!
Thank you for letting me tell you a little about my world.”
Boarding Prefect 2019/20