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Sir Peter Blake Trust Young Environmental Leaders Forum 2018 (YELF)

Wowee where do I begin?

In the first week of the term one holidays, I was incredibly honoured to be selected, as part of 56 students across the country, to attend the Sir Peter Blake Trust Young Environmental Leaders Forum 2018 (YELF) in the beautiful Taranaki. After an exhilarating seven days of outdoor pursuits and inspiring debates, I can proudly say that this programme has completely changed my life.

From the early 6am runs to the midnight yarns with the boys in my dorm, I loved every minute of being immersed in the breathtaking environment with passionate youth who share the same mindset towards climate change, which was our main topic of discussion. Climate change is the alteration of local and global climate patterns due to heightened levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide from the ongoing burning of fossil fuels. Effects of climate change include adverse weather events, melting of glaciers, accelerated sea level rise and habitat destruction.

At YELF, we took part in workshops to spark action from us youth so that we can return to our communities full of ideas and hope of creating change in our local region. From rapping, dancing, debating, observing plankton and nearly falling into the ocean off a 8m wave, YELF has equipped me with the courage to lay the foundations upon which a collective assault on climate change can take place.

I’d like to say a massive thank you to the Sir Peter Blake Trust and the Ministry for the Environment for providing me with this fantastic opportunity and more so, to the 55 other YELFies for the unforgettable memories and the lifelong friendships that I made during the programme.

I highly recommend all students from years 11 to 13 to apply for this opportunity of a lifetime and represent Rutherford with pride at this prestigious Forum.

I’m a YELFie and I say it PROUDly!

Photo credits © Brendon O’Hagan / Sir Peter Blake Trust

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