source : www.abc.net.au
Environmental scientist and activist Timothy Jarvis says he hopes his new title as South Australia’s 2024 Australian of the Year would inspire people to help stop climate change in any way they can.
Most important points:
- 2024 SA Australian of the Year is environmental scientist Timothy Jarvis
- Founder of Backpacks 4 SA Kids, Rachael Zaltron OAM, is a local hero for South Australia
- Conservation biologist and First Nations woman Tiahni Adamson is SA’s Young Australian of the Year, while Sister Meredith Evans is Senior Australian of the Year
The winners of the 2024 SA Australians of the Year were announced in Adelaide on Wednesday evening and they will be in the running for the national awards on January 25 in Canberra.
Mr Jarvis has undertaken more than ten expeditions around the world, ranging from Norway to Indonesia and Antarctica.
He is the team leader of The Forktree Project, a charity that aims to restore 133 hectares of degraded former farmland on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula with native flora.
Mr Jarvis also founded the 25Zero Project, which is creating a documentary series that will show the rapid disappearance of glaciers to show the urgent need for action on climate change.
“I was digging weeds by myself at The Forktree Project on Sunday and this (award) is about the biggest contrast possible,” he said as he accepted his award.
“I’ve been on expeditions for many, many years and I think one of the main things about expeditions that you learn from, parallel to the environmental science work that I do, is that you decide what you can do and try not to worry about the rest to make. “
The advocate helped secure 475,000 square kilometers of marine reserve at Macquarie Island, a World Heritage Site, this year.
“This award would really help in the effort to try and reiterate that if we can, cut and paste for the Heard and Macdonald Islands, the two sub-Antarctic islands that are not national territories and that are critical to to try to protect. Mr Jarvis said.
He said he hoped to use his platform as SA Australian of the Year to encourage more people to take action and take responsibility “for some of the problem itself”.
“I think the award will open more doors and raise awareness of the issue,” he said.
He quoted British human rights and environmental campaigner Dame Anita Roddick: “If you think you’re too small to make an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room.”
“It’s up to each of us to make a difference.”
As a migrant, Mr Jarvis said he was proud to call South Australia his home.
“Look what it has given me in return, that great recognition for work that is quite solitary and quite solitary,” he said.
“Yes, I work with the community, but it can be stressful given the enormity of some of the issues we face, especially in the environmental field.”
Mr Jarvis said climate change and biodiversity loss around the world can be overwhelming, but everyone can do their part to make positive change.
2024 Local Hero — Rachael Zaltron
What started in a carport has now given hope to hundreds of vulnerable and neglected children in South Australia.
Rachael Zaltron founded Backpacks 4 SA Kids after she and another family started collecting donations for children in 2013.
Since then, she and her team of volunteers have helped more than 86,000 South Australians aged 0 to 16 who are in care, homeless or needing to leave their home quickly due to domestic violence.
“We have a phenomenal community that rallies around each other and lets people know they are worth it,” she said.
“I want the kids to know that they are worth it. I don’t want another seventeen-year-old kid to tell me that no one ever told them that they believed in them, or that they were proud of them, or that they were loved.”
The charity also provides starter packs for families escaping domestic abuse and essentials for young people aged up to 25.
Ms Zaltron said her work “doesn’t just come down to the backpacks anymore”.
“We’ve had volunteers tell us without us that they probably would have killed themselves,” she said.
2024 SA Young Australian of the Year – Tiahni Adamson
Tiahni Adamson, a proud descendant of Kaurareg Nations, is South Australia’s 2024 Young Australian of the Year.
The conservation biologist has been praised for her work in sustainability, Indigenous education programs and climate change.
The 28-year-old is the lead community engagement officer at climate change solutions company CH4Global, where she champions indigenous knowledge in their projects.
She paid tribute to the Aboriginal communities of Palm Island, Coffin Bay and Port Augusta where she lived, saying leaders there taught her “to care about the land, to care about sustainability, to care about what we stand for”.
“And that is the epitome of who we are, we are not separate from Country,” Ms Adamson said.
“The most important thing in this space is that First Nations people have the voice and leadership within these communities to drive change within ours.
“And we’re slowly seeing that change, which is really exciting.”
Ms Adamson is on the national leadership team of Seed, a First-Nations-led youth climate justice group, and was a member of the youth dialogue for the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
SA Senior Australian of the Year – Sister Meredith Evans
With a commitment to helping the vulnerable and a passion for social justice, Sister of Mercy Meredith Evans said her work was only made possible with the support of a community.
The 75-year-old has made a difference in countless lives, including refugees, women experiencing homelessness, women leaving abusive relationships and women leaving prison.
“I knew from an early stage of welcoming refugees into our Australian community that we couldn’t do it alone as individuals, it needed a group of people to travel with people coming to a new country,” she said.
“It’s what (refugees) taught me about resilience, about determination, about the ability to learn a new language, to find a new place to settle in Australia… they gave me the courage given to keep going when the going is tough.”
Ms Evans founded the new Circle for Friends in Adelaide to support refugees and the South Australian chapter of Young Mercy Links for young people passionate about social justice.
She also reinstated Justice for Refugees SA and the Young Christian Workers Movement in the state.
source : www.abc.net.au