Young Conservative of the Year Amelia Telford calls for the energy revolution ahead of Paris climate conference

Amelia Telford, a Bundjalung woman from Tweed Heads, is the Young Conservationist of the Year. Photo: James Brickwood Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/young-conservationist-of-the-year-amelia-telford-calls-for-the-energy-revolution-ahead-of-paris-climate-conference-20151028-gkl01j.html#ixzz3q0zNBASD  Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

Amelia Telford, a Bundjalung woman from Tweed Heads, is the Young Conservationist of the Year. Photo: James Brickwood

In 2013, Amelia Telford approached then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd while dressed up as Nemo to ask him “how he was going to protect my home, as a clown fish in the Great Barrier Reef”.

This year the 21-year-old has another message for the Prime Minister, though this time it’s for Malcolm Turnbull, and she’s talking about much more than the reef.

“People who have the power of decision making [must be] thinking about the impacts their decisions have on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities, specifically around approving new fossil fuel projects and how our communities are being devastated,” she said.

“We need to get the energy revolution started.”

A Bundjalung woman from Tweed Heads, Ms Telford was named the Australian Geographic Society’s Young Conservationist of the Year on Wednesday.

Ms Telford is a member of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and founder and director of Seed, a network of young Aboriginal people fighting for climate justice.

With little more than a month until the United Nations Paris climate conference, Ms Telford and her colleagues have all eyes on the government.

“It’s really disappointing to see such a lack of ambition in what we are taking to Paris,” she said.

“It’s embarrassing for Australia, because we are one of the sunniest and windiest countries in the world and we have the science and technology available to actually be powered by renewable energy, but there are other countries doing so much better than we are.”

“The people of Australia want to see action. So if that means starting the transition ourselves by getting solar panels on the roofs of high schools and hospitals, showing the government what true leadership looks like and leaving them with no choice but to follow, I guess that’s the path we will have to go down, and already have.”

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