Build a Solar Thermal

“Yeah, yeah.

build a solar thermal,

yeah, yeah.

and down with gas,

boom boom”

This chant has been stuck in my head for the last week straight, amongst others.

Every time I stop for a moment the memory of the rally in Adelaide comes flooding back.

It has taken me a long time to write this blog post, mostly because the experience was too intense and also because I have just moved across the country to Sydney and was homeless for the first two weeks.

100km mark on the Walk for Solar

Two months ago I found out about the Walk for Solar being organised by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC).

I have already blogged about the AYCC before and it is a youth run and lead NGO that I really care strongly about.

Since joining the AYCC  over a year ago now my views and beliefs towards the environment and the need to protect it has changed dramatically.

Up and until the Walk for Solar I cared about the effects of climate change and the need for clean renewable energy in Australia, and whilst I had worked on campaigns and run media campaigns I had yet to do anything big.

The turning point for me was when I heard about the Repower Port Augusta campaign and the walk, and immediately ran to sign up for it.

328kms, 80 people, 14 days through the South Australian desert not only appealed to my adventurous side but also to my environmental conscious.

I knew in that moment that I was ready to take thing up a step, that my time to actually take action was now and I really wanted to commit myself to the cause.

So that’s how I found myself 6 weeks later boarding a plane to Adelaide with six other great climate campaigners from Western Australia all buzzing with energy to start walking and placing pressure on the state and federal government to implement Australia’s first big solar thermal power plant in Port Augusta.

The walk was challenging at times, boring at others but always fun and always there was a sense of urgency and a need to continue in the air.

We were walking for something far greater than ourselves, we were walking for Australia’s clean energy future.

This was telling on the days when some of the walkers were crippled with blisters, still determined to carry on, yet hunched over in pain.

The days when everyone was exhausted from the mental, emotional and physical aspects of the walk and walked along in silence.

The days when everyone was elated and the guitars were brought out and people serenaded the rest as we walked.

The mornings when my tent buddy Sandy and myself would wake up to wake up call of Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’ blasting through the megaphone, and tired and sore and a little grumpy, we would wake up and sing as we took down our tent.

The day that James and I spent in the car penning the aptly titled song ‘Oh Fearless Leader’ which became a camp fire smash hit.

The morning when we woke up to a giant millipede in Sandys sock, and screamed and threw it across the tent.

Not sure where it had gone Damien came running from the tent next door to our cried of ‘Mayday, Mayday!’

Meeting lentil farmers on the road who gave us a bag of his produce.

Sitting in fields and on road sides for breaks of chocolate, nuts and fruit.

The six puppies we came across at one of the farms we stayed at, who delighted everyone and lifted all of our spirits.

The 100km, 200km and 300km marks of the walk were a cause for celebration and to remind us of how far we had come.

The unique way Liam had fundraised for the walk, by pledging to shave or keep his beard based on the amount of money raised by either camp, and the hilarious video we created in a shearing shed for his beard campaign.

The endless old stone ruins we passed in the fields along the way, with forgotten stories and dreams trapped inside them.

The people on the walk are some of the most committed and inspiring people I have ever met, and pushed me to re evaluate how much commitment I had previously invested to the need to protect the environment, and how much I will further do in the future.

We walked not only for ourselves, we walked for the people of Port Augusta, we walked for those who do not have the ability to have their voices heard on the topic of clean energy and we walked for all Australians who need a clean energy future.

The people I met and the stories that I heard that have changed the way that I want to live my life.

From Ellie the youngest walker at the ripe old age of 5 who was on the walk with her father Tim, to the oldest walker, in their 60s who proved that things only get better and easier as you get older.

The over 1,500 people who greeted us in Adelaide for the rally, and showed that they too were committed to the creation of the first solar thermal plant in the country.

Since the walk we have all gone our separate ways, but continue to act with more passion and commitment than ever before.

Some are continuing to work on the Repower Port Augusta campaign and others on anti coal, fracking and the proposed coal port expansion campaigns.

So where am I in all of this?

Well I am in the middle. I was chosen to go to Antarctica on an expedition as part of the Antarctic Youth Ambassadors Program in February next year.

This expedition is going to be life changing, with 30 young people from around the world chosen to go to learn all about the climate crisis on the front line, the need to protect Antarctica and the leadership skills to be able to go back into our local communities and champion renewable energy projects.

So would I ever do something similar again? Of course without a moment of doubt, but I hope that there will not be a need to do so again.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: