Back in August, WHGNE called for expressions of interest from young women in our region to win two sponsored tickets as online delegates to the Powershift Youth Climate Summit, held over 23-25 September. Our winners were Charlie Pinard and Eadie Hartwig from north east Victoria. Charlie and Eadie are no strangers to climate action – they are the innovators behind the Climate Letter Project – which empowers students to write letters to government ministers urging climate action. The following blog post is by Charlie Pinard, describing our Powershift winners’ experience at the summit.

My Power Shift Experience

By Charlie Pinard

Hey there! I’m Charlie, and I co-run the Climate Letter Project with my cousin Eadie. This week, Eadie and I were fortunate enough to be funded by Women’s Health Goulburn North East, and sent to the radical online Power Shift Youth Climate Summit by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.

It was an honestly life-changing experience to meet so many other inspiring young people who are passionate about securing both climate and First Nations justice across Australia and the world.

We kicked off day one with an introduction from proud Kulkalaig woman Tishika King (or ‘Tish like a fish’ she told us) from the Island of Masig, which is part of the Kulkalgal Nation. Her enthusiasm about First Nations justice and environmental conservation was a welcome encouragement as we progressed further into the summit.

Then, Aunty Dawn Daylight, an inspirational Yugerra-Turrbul-Jarrawoir woman, gave a powerful welcome to country, in which she shared her own journey in advocating for First Nation’s justice.

From then, we were showered with compelling keynote speakers, plenary discussions and workshops, were we could learn about anything from the role of young people in the media to campaigning for marriage equality on a youth level.

We were also given the opportunity to connect with other young people from our area in ‘home groups’ and were allocated time to have discussions of our own and make new friends.

On day 2, I attended a particularly inspiring workshop run by Kelly Albion, who is a passionate member of AYCC and conducted an inspiring program centered around digital campaigning and online protests. She spoke of her own experience throughout COVID, in which AYCC was forced to come up with new tactics when it came to peaceful protests and demonstrations. This workshop then lead to our hour of action on day three, in which we clogged the Treasurer’s calendar with demands to remove fossil fuels from the budget, wrote emails, left phone messages, flooded his social media pages and formulated digital murals which will be delivered personally to the treasurer’s office in Brisbane later in the week.

It was so empowering to complete these actions as a collective group, and I’ll be watching my social media closely over the next week to see any reactions from our Treasurer, Jim Chalmers’ office.

After this, we regrouped and celebrated this incredible experience we have shared at Power Shift. I have met so many people who are leading the way towards climate justice, and attending this summit has definitely broadened my horizons, and left me feeling more hopeful about Australia’s future.

If the people I met who attended Power Shift are going to be running the country someday, I know that we are in safe hands. Thank you so much Women’s Health Goulburn North East for this experience, I will cherish it’s power forever.