Ipswich young leaders celebrate their impact at Youth Sustainability Summit

16 October 2023

“We might not be able to solve all the big problems, but we can make a difference.”

This was the message from Springfield Central State School students when sharing their story with more than 150 peers from nine different local primary schools at this year’s Youth Sustainability Summit.

Ipswich City Council Environment and Sustainability Committee Chairperson Deputy Mayor Russell Milligan said the summit is in its seventh year, providing a key highlight of a jam-packed program for Sustainable Ipswich throughout October.

“Whether it’s at school, at council, or at home, how we act now has a direct impact on the quality of life that young people like you will have in the future, and that is a responsibility that council takes very seriously,” Deputy Mayor Milligan said.

“Sustainability is important to council and our community, and we share a vision for a future where Ipswich is known across Australia for being clean, green and a city with a circular economy.

“Council has ideas and plans for ensuring that Ipswich is a leader in sustainability, but I don’t doubt it is the young leaders engaged at the summit that will be setting the standard, holding us accountable, and leading us forward well into the future.”

A panel of students from Raceview State School, Redbank Plains State School and Springfield Central State School was an inspirational start to the day, setting the tone for finding local solutions for global problems.

Student leaders shared their stories of impact including setting up a Containers for Change bin at school to tackle their biggest waste problem, poppers, and establishing a FOGO (Food Organics Garden Organics) collection for lunchbox leftovers. Wrapper Free Wednesday was another popular idea, challenging students to bring a plastic-free lunch to school each week to consider and minimise waste.

Deputy Mayor Milligan said the students from grades four to six were an inspiring demonstration of the kind of city Ipswich is striving to be.

“Today was another reminder of how immensely proud we all can be of our city’s young people,” Deputy Mayor Milligan said.

“Even at a young age, these students are passionate about making a difference and creating a world where people, plants and animals can all thrive in harmony.

“Throughout the summit, students took part in an innovative game to learn about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and how our local actions contribute to global change.

“Mallow Sustainability also ran a workshop on how to be a waste warrior, by helping fellow students to ‘get their waste sorted’.

“University of Queensland’s Green Ambassadors provided the summit’s keynote address, sharing their learnings about making an impact at school.

“The day was a huge success, with special thanks to student volunteers from Bundamba State Secondary College whose energy and enthusiasm in supporting the younger students was key to the day’s success.

“I’m thrilled that council’s environmental education team brings our young people together each year for this wonderful initiative.”

Participating schools in this year’s Youth Sustainability Summit were Brassall State School, Ipswich Junior Grammar School, Ipswich West State School, Raceview State School, Redbank Plains State School, Sacred Heart School, Springfield Central State School, St Brigid’s Catholic Primary School, and Westside Christian College.

Sustainable Ipswich offers a huge program of free and low-cost events throughout October. To find out more, visit: Ipswich.qld.gov.au/sustainability