Myriver – Youth Voice Vision And Action
Colin Lennox
Colin Lennox
Co-Founder/Executive Director Oz GREEN
PO Box 1378,
Dee Why NSW 2099
Colin Lennox, Co-founder and Executive Director of Oz GREEN (Global Rivers
Environmental Education Network Australia inc), an independent not for profit
organisation establishing in 1993 and working with communities across Australia and in
East Timor, Papua New Guinea and India. Between 2002 and 2004 Oz GREEN has
worked with over 1,000 young people from 73 schools in ‘taking the pulse’ of the
Murrumbidgee, Darling and Murray River catchments in a participatory action research
program known as MYRiveR. Colin will present the ‘MYRiveR’ project results and
discuss Oz GREEN’s methodology and outcomes.
The severity of the ongoing drought highlights the scarcity and vulnerability of our
waters. Finding ways of living within the limits of this dry continent is our fundamental
challenge. Young people have an important stake in this dialogue. The scale of social and
environmental problems can be overwhelming. The main message to emerge from the
recent UN Report on World Youth (2003) is that what young people most need are the
tools to be effective agents of social change - in their own communities and beyond.
MYRiveR is a participatory action research program that is being implemented in each of
the major sub-catchments of the Murray-Darling Basin. Oz GREEN has made a 10-year
commitment to bring the basin back from the brink. Through MYRiveR we are seeking
to find appropriate solutions and pathways to sustainable ways of living and working.
MYRiveR involves participants in assessing the health of the environment, developing
their own vision and action plans and implementing eco-social projects they have
Regional Eco-Snapshots – Participating schools working with Oz GREEN and local
organizations to take the pulse of the river to check on its health (ecological and
social health assessments). Real time reporting of results on www.myriver.org.au
2-Day Regional Youth Congresses - to interpret the results, identify how the river is
important, the threats to catchment health, develop youth vision for the future of the
river and youth action plans.
Youth-led Regional Community Forums – youth present the results of their
findings to their local community and invite the community to get behind their action
Implementing Youth Action Plans - Follow-up mentoring and support for young
people and their schools as they implement action plans.
Creating Ethical Communities Now: Footprints, Pathways, Possibilities
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Myriver – Youth Voice Vision And Action
Colin Lennox
Youth LEAD - Youth Leadership Training – Youth leadership, enterprise and
strategic questioning skills training for selected young people, with follow-up
mentoring and support as Youth LEADers initiate their own eco-social projects.
Whole Catchment Congresses - Bringing together participating schools from
throughout the catchment to report on, celebrate and learn from successes (and
failures), and develop whole catchment visions and action plans.
Emerging Group Actions - As synergy builds between MYRiveR participants across
the Murray-Darling basin, new strategies for collaborative action are taking shape,
Murrumbidgee Youth present to ANCID Conference September 2002
Youth Special Committee to Sustain the Darling River (NSW Parliament
Legislative Council Chambers, May 2004) when young people from Warwick to
Wentworth traveled to Sydney to formally present their findings, vision and
concerns to the NSW Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resource
World Oceans Day Ceremony at Murray Mouth (June 2004) when young people
from the Lower Murray poured waters from the headwaters of the Darling,
Murrumbidgee and Murray Rivers through their hands into the sea at the Murray
Mouth, to symbolically re-connect river flow memory lines.
Presentation to South Australian Parliament (July 2004) and River Murray Public
meeting in Adelaide by SA River Murray schools.
Creating Ethical Communities Now: Footprints, Pathways, Possibilities
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