On the eve of World Environment Day, Sunday June 5, The Bangalow Herald asked some local young people what they are doing to protect the environment, and for advice on what we could all do to make a difference.

Louis, 7, from Bangalow says “Our family is recycling, composting and has solar panels.” “Yeah, we should all get solar panels on our roofs to stop coal mining,” says Miles, 9, from Bangalow. His older sister Sia, 11, agrees, adding “we should also try not to use as much single use plastic bags and grow some of our own food plants.” Louis would love to see green bins in the main street for people to dispose of their food scraps more sustainably. “We are careful about food waste and we find new recipes to use leftover ingredients when we are cooking meals so nothing gets thrown out,” says Stella, 15.

Sia surveying the flood damage at her Gran’s farm photo Monika Wheeler

But it’s not just energy and recycling that our kids see as important, it’s conservation and care of the land too. “My grandmother has a farm in Coopers Creek, and she has been trying to regenerate it to bring it back to the rainforest,” says Sia. “I help my grandad to protect the forests,” says Miles. “He is an environmentalist. He has made blockades to stop loggers getting in. He has made protests to get more national parks,” His grandfather is none other than renowned environmental activist and artist, Dalian Pugh OAM.

The young people also observe changes to our daily lives, even in the seemingly busy streets of 2479 and beyond. “There should be more bike paths and free bikes so people can leave their cars at home,” says Louis, who is yet to wrestle with the challenges of driving on our local roads or finding a convenient parking spot in 2479.

“Cafes shouldn’t have single use plastic straws and they should also put their rubbish in the right bin to protect our local creeks and the ocean,” says Sia.

Part regenerated Coopers Creek Photo Monika Wheeler

“We should be planting more trees for the birds and koalas,” says Louis. “We can also bring back the creek by planting native trees along the riverbank to make it cleaner and healthier,” says Sia. “Yes, and everyone should donate to Bangalow Koalas!” says animal loving Miles.

Meanwhile, the school landscape presents its own environmental challenges. “We should buy nude food and not use single-use plastic in our lunchboxes,” says Miles. As Zero Waste Chef Anne Marie Boneu says “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” “My mum gives me nude food in my lunch box, and I don’t always eat it so, yay, there is more compost!” says Louis. So, what can the people of 2479 be doing to make a difference to the care of our environment?