Recently there has been a lot of discussion surrounding climate change, and what, if anything, should be done about it.
Some young people, feeling unheard by their Government, have recently staged protests around Australia. They are demanding the Government adopt a climate policy that reduces emissions, and in doing so, protect their future.
One such young person is Maddie Diamond, a 21-year-old Canberran who not only took part in the Australian Youth Climate Council (AYCC) organised protest, but also started her own social cause to improve the environment.
Ms Diamond is the founder of Trash Mob, “which is a lot like Clean Up Australia Day, but rather than cleaning up once a year, we get together and do it once a month. We pick a different location around Canberra and spend a few hours cleaning up, then usually hang out afterwards.”
Trash Mob was founded because Ms Diamond was overwhelmed by the amount of rubbish in her neighbourhood. She thought that if she could summon a group to help her, the job would be easier, more rubbish would be collected, and it might even be fun.
Since its founding in 2017, Trash Mob has blossomed into a community that takes direct action and feels rewarded by picking up rubbish.
“Visually seeing how much rubbish we collectively remove from nature is extremely satisfying. Not only that, it’s a great way to meet and be surrounded by awesome, like-minded people who care so much about protecting our environment.”
Ms Diamond is passionate about environmental sustainability, and this is evidenced beyond her founding of Trash Mob. “I’ve been in the AYCC since early last year, and since joining I’ve had some pretty amazing experiences like climate activist boot camp, a national youth conference on climate change, and a whole bunch of actions, marches, rallies and protests.”
It was through AYCC that Ms Diamond also took part in a recent protest at parliament house. “On Wednesday 5th December a bunch of people, from school students to veteran activists, shut down the Great Hall of Parliament House. We held the space for two hours demanding that the government act on climate change. It was one of the most powerful experiences I’ve had in this movement, and we certainly got our point across.”
The passion Ms Diamond feels for environmental sustainability also extends beyond direct action. “I’m currently studying Sustainable Practice at TAFE, and through this course I hope to learn how to better communicate the importance of sustainability to businesses, organisations and the public, and bring sustainable practice into the mainstream.
“This is ultimately where I’d like to take my career, although I’m not sure which exact route to go down yet, as sustainability is such a broad puzzle with a million moving parts.
“Either way, whatever I do, it’s clear to me that I must act. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is only giving us 12 years until “irreversible, catastrophic climate change”, so it’s crunch time for governmental policy on climate change. We need all the help we can get to push our leaders to do the right thing for our future.”
Recently Ms Diamond accepted a position as the Executive Officer at SEE-Change, a local grassroots environmental organisation. “My dream of having a career in sustainability is happening!”
Ms Diamond shows us that youth are politically active and do have a voice today. Her ability to start a social enterprise, mobile other young people, and create a supportive community in which to tackle climate change should be motivation for us all to act.
As Ms Diamond says, “Many Canberrans have the privilege and capability to make significant change. It’s completely in our power to act on the things we care about. Join a group, volunteer, write to your MP and have meaningful conversations. Every little thing we do is a step in the direction of positive change.”
If you would like to be involved with Trash Mob, find them on Facebook or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Trash Mob are also currently looking to expand beyond Canberra borders, and Ms Diamond would love to hear from you if you can help make this happen.
**This article was edited 8 July 2019 to reflect Ms Diamond’s new position at SEE-Change.
Jessica Abramovic is a communications specialist living in Canberra. Her academic and career focuses are diversity and inclusion, intersectionality, and storytelling. Jessica holds a BA majoring in communications and international studies, a Grad Dip of Professional Writing, and a Master of International Development.