Wānaka teens challenged to think global, act local

Nov 10, 2022

A group of Wānaka teens has been challenged to think about the planet and their impact on its future as part of the recent Wao summit.

The Mount Aspiring College Years 9 and 10 students attended the sustainability-focused event, where they were exposed to presentations by international speakers and local change-makers. 

Mount Aspiring College's Psychology and Social Science teacher Ben Pennycuick says the summit's special student-focused session provided the young people with knowledge and opportunities regarding climate change, and how thinking locally - with a focus on sustainability - can have significant positive impacts on the planet, as well as on our way of life.

Mount Aspiring College students taking part in the recent 'Festival for Sustainability' Wao Summit 2022. 

“We listened to presentations from international experts who helped unpack complex language and concepts, allowing students to collaborate on solutions to some of the issues they identified in their local communities,” says Mr Pennycuick. 

“This was a fantastic opportunity and one the students will carry with them as they continue to engage with some of the most pressing social issues they will face in their lifetime and beyond.”

Year 10 student Ryan Stembridge says he really enjoyed the day and thought it was a great experience. 

“I liked learning about the effects of transportation, agriculture, and how to innovate and improve these things. The people there were very kind and helpful regarding questions and providing information.”

Year 9 student Maja Griffith-Jones says she thought the day was awesome. 

“It was full of specific, interesting short talks about addressing the problem of climate change. 

“We learnt how to eat sustainably, how much transport is affecting the climate and how willing the QLDC is to help. After this, we split into small groups before brainstorming, elaborating and presenting our ideas on what we could change to be more sustainable and how we could help.”

Mount Aspiring College students expressed their gratitude to the Wao organisers for providing the learning opportunity, as well as their teacher, Mr Pennycuick, and Team Green staff facilitator Chrissi Pettit for organising the visit. 

The six-day Wao Festival for Sustainability event comprised of workshops, kōrero, films, tours and community events about creating tangible, long-term social and environmental change.

Images (Supplied/Ben Pennycuick) 

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