The Young Sustainability Ambassadors program is a new partnership between the team behind Art4Agriculture and Intrepid Landcare.
The program has been inspired by the success of the Young Farming Champions program and we believe a watershed moment for agriculture. Young people in agriculture reaching out to young people in the community with a burning desire to to be part of a movement that takes action to co-create the bright future we all deserve
The end goal of this partnership is to create a network of global communicators who have the skills and confidence to be the face of their hopes, their community, their organisation, their industry and share their story and their vision for the future with young people in schools and their peers right across the globe
With the launch of the Young Sustainability Ambassadors website we would love you to meet another of the programs ambassadors and hear her story
Meet Erin Lake
I was always a bit of a shy and nervous person growing up, except around my family and friends who know me for being able to recite relatable movie lines from Ace Ventura at the most perfect of moments. But when it comes to public speaking I usually get that empty feeling at the bottom of my stomach. A sudden flush to the head that jumbles my words, and a tendency to blurt my speech out so fast to get it over with without even realising. Do you relate? The majority of people do, with lots of people in Australia (and the world) suffering from glossophobia (fear of public speaking).
It is quite a challenge because I really like to analyse situations; sort ideas (being both a splitter and a lumper); develop tables and charts to present complex ideas in a way that can be instantly understood by someone who knows little of the content; and design beautiful reports and presentations to capture people’s imaginations and help them to visualise, understand and decide how they feel about a topic. Usually that topic is the intriguing and brilliant ecology of Australia’s animals and plants and the systems we use (or could use) to improve their survival.
The combination of written and oral communication to share ideas is a highly powerful tool. And I think each needs its own focus and practice as you develop in your career (and as a human). Communicating the value of an idea successfully to a global audience is not something that many appear to do well or at all. Thinking of who does well – obviously (sadly) Donald Trump, (more optimistically) David Attenborough and (incredibly) the #Kardashians.
I learnt very early that attention on a global stage (or pretty much any type of stage) was absolutely not what I wanted in life. But the ability to communicate on a global stage was something that on my journey, I realised would be a very important thing if our wildlife and environment was to be protected and valued the way I think it deserves. Slight dilemma.
I’m pretty happy with where I found the balance. I am now part of a small team who advise Australia’s first Threatened Species Commissioner, appointed by the Minister for the Environment to bring a new focus to conservation efforts and help address the growing number of flora and fauna in Australia facing extinction. One of the key objectives of his position is to raise awareness in the broader community about the importance of protecting our threatened animals and plants. The Commissioner reaches out to audiences across Australia, and globally, to rally behind our unique, diverse and beautiful wildlife to save them from #extinction.
There are many ways to communicate globally, and being part of a team that communicates to the world about #SavingSpecies like numbats, helmeted honeyeaters and matchstick banksias is a very rewarding and effective way to encourage people to stand up for our wildlife. Preparing presentations, developing policy and sharing information through social media are some of my daily tasks.
Being involved in the Art4Agriculture program absolutely helped me to realise that my message and my values were worth communicating on a global stage. And it helped me to professionally and sincerely present ideas that help inspire people to care about what I care about. Being supported by a suite of talented experts like the beautiful Anne Burbook (program facilitator and communications trainer specialist) nurtured my confidence to help me find my voice and a reason for using it loudly.
I don’t aspire to be a leader, but to have leadership skills. I want to be able to help others to learn, understand and develop in ways that make them happy and make the choices that they feel are the right choices. I don’t want to tell people how they should be living, or what they should be eating. I want them to have the knowledge to be able to choose for themselves, and the information to be able to understand why.
Just by knowing what is out there can shape your decisions for study, experience and engagement and direct you in a trajectory where your passion can become part of your career. Even if it’s a bit behind the scenes.