OPINION: We all need to become activists to save the reef

I JUST returned from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) national summit in Sydney.

It's so exciting and inspiring to meet up with hundreds of other young people who are so friendly and caring and taking action to preserve all our futures. It's a big reminder for me that I'm not alone in this fight; there are passionate young people everywhere.

I left the summit on a packed bus, feeling strong and motivated, with a huge crew of new friends that I know have my back.

The summit consisted of three days of inspiring workshops, actions and empowering speakers including Tim Flannery, Nellis Kennedy Howard and Greenpeace chief executive David Ritter.

The Great Barrier Reef and our climate are currently under threat from plans to build the world's biggest coal port at Abbott Point, mining the Galilee Basin and digging up sections of the reef (dredging) to make way for huge coal ships, dumping dredge waste on the reef and nearby wetlands.

The carbon emissions from this coal port alone will be equivalent to 25% of Australia's total emissions.

Despite many huge public campaigns, our politicians are just letting this happen, so we're targeting Australia's four big banks, (NAB, Westpac, ANZ and Commonwealth) asking them not to invest in this disastrous project.

We have to speak in a language they will understand: money; so we have launched our #dumpmybank campaign.

The coal port will require billions of dollars in financing from Australia's big banks, so we need to act fast.

The #dumpmybank campaign aims to collect 70,000 pledges telling banks "if you choose to invest in reef destruction, I'm dumping you."

There are AYCC volunteers across Australia collecting these pledges, so if you see one of us around, come and sign the pledge, or go to www.dumpmybank.org to make the pledge online.


*KUDRA RICKETTS is a young activist currently doing Year 12.

She loves art and photography and is passionate about environmental justice, human rights and equality.

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