Climate fighter takes home NAIDOC Youth of the Year
A PASSIONATE environmentalist has taken out the Bundaberg District NAIDOC Youth of the Year award for 2016.
Angel Owen, a 17-year-old Butchulla woman from Agnes Water, was at the NAIDOC Ball at the Bundaberg RSL to collect the award on Saturday.
She was one of the five Indigenous youths who launched Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network in 2014. It has now grown to more than 80 members.
“Along the way she has dedicated herself to our movement and inspired many,” a statement from Seed said.
The young activist has travelled around Australia fighting for action on climate change, including at a large protest at a coal port in Newcastle in May.
“As young people, we are the first generation to see the impacts of climate change and we are the last that can do anything about it,” she said.
A highlight for Angel on the night was meeting Bundaberg’s own NAIDOC Person of the Year, Chris Sarra.
“I was a little bit starstruck,” she said.
“I introduced myself and he said, ‘I already know who you are’.”
She said the recognition was an important reminder.
“It’s always hard fighting a social justice issue. You get so worked up and you bring it into your own personal life, and too often you get caught up with what you haven’t yet achieved,” she said.
“(The award) gives you a chance to reflect on yourself and appreciate what you have done.”
The senior student’s next goal this year?
“To finish school with good grades.”
Angel encouraged other young people wanting to make change to “shoot for the moon because even if you don’t land there, you’ll land among the stars”.
“It sounds cheesy, but it’s true,” she said.
“When (you start out) you can feel very overwhelmed and have a lot of self doubt.
“But as youth, we are underestimated with the power we hold in our communities.”