Thursday, 19 February 2009

Jon Dee and Bayer-UNEP begin search for Australia’s “eco” students

Australian university students with something “eco” on their minds are being asked to step forward with their ideas on sustainable energy solutions for the 2009 Bayer-UNEP Eco-Minds Forum, and be in with a chance to represent Australia at an International Forum in Auckland, New Zealand.

One of the ways the competition is being promoted is through 2 YouTube videos where you are Ideas on How Not to Save the World & Non-Practical Ideas for a Sustainable future.

In partnership with the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), the Bayer Eco-Minds program aims to foster awareness, thirst and passion for the environment amongst students from across the Asia Pacific region. In return, the winning students receive an all expenses paid trip to Auckland for the opportunity to present their ideas and participate in solution-orientated group work, cross-cultural activities and knowledge sharing in a bid to tackle real-life sustainable development issues.

In Australia, the initiative is being supported by leading environmentalist Jon Dee who believes the Eco-Minds Forum is an ideal opportunity for students to put their passion to good use.

“What better way for young Aussie students to get their suggestions for sustainable energy solutions out there,” says Dee. “Eco-Minds provides the perfect forum for tomorrow’s leaders to exchange ideas with each other in a proactive, pan-Asia effort to make a very real difference to the future of our environment, today.”

2009 will see the third bi-annual Eco-Minds Forum take place. At the 2007 Forum in Thailand, university students Rachel Cain from the University of Adelaide, Laura Joseph from the University of Western Sydney and Eric Knight from Sydney University represented Australia when the best minds from across Asia Pacific came together to explore real-life issues and sustainable development ideas for fresh water supply.

Rachel Cain, who has been involved with the Youth Environment Council of South Australia, as both a member and mentor, and has completed voluntary work in Central America, says: “Eco-Minds has helped to fast track my career by providing me with an unforgettable experience to work alongside students from across the region to try and solve issues of sustainability that affect all of us.

“Each student brought their own knowledge and skill-set which helped fuel the discussion and ideas and allowed each of us to learn so much from each other. It’s opened up doors for me and I’ve created some wonderful friendships.” said Ms Cain.

The 2009 Eco-Minds Youth Forum will focus on a topic that is of growing importance to the world - Sustainable Energy Systems: Challenges and Opportunities. As part of the week-long event, participants will look at some of the challenges around energy supply, including climate change, and the practical solutions that can overcome such challenges with a visit to New Zealand’s hydro and geothermal supply systems.

For those “eco-minded” students who have ever seen something and thought “I could do it better”, this is their chance. The Bayer-UNEP Eco-Minds is open to all university students aged 18-24 years with delegates from Singapore, Thailand, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, India, Indonesia and China attending.

For entry details and application forms, students can log on to, or contact the Australian Eco-Minds Co-ordinator on (02) 4736 0892. Entries close on 28 March 2009.

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