ICMS students who volunteered to help with the recent flood clean up are concerned about climate change and the impact this may have on future ‘weather events’ within their lifetime.
“I am from France, I didn’t expect this kind of weather, it’s such a surprise to see the climate change effect everywhere,” said Alinor, one of the who arrived in Sydney in January and volunteered to help with the Manly flood clean up.
French masters’ students Alienor Le Texier and Alexia Sellos were joined by Australian undergraduate students Leah Veld, Tahlee van Gool, Tenahya Dennis and Cameron Colvin for the clean-up. All the students are currently living in on-campus accommodation at Manly’s iconic ‘castle on the hill’ overlooking Manly Beach.
The floods and extreme weather conditions have not only put a dampener on the ‘beachy’ student experience that students were hoping for, but for local students it’s been an anxious time.
Tenahya is from Muswellbrook in the Upper Hunter Region of New South Wales and explains, “I’ve been worried about everyone back home during the floods. My Nan and Pop are flooded in, and I really hope that they’re okay.” She offered to volunteer for the clean up in Manly because “I recently moved here and want to play my part in the community.”
The students joined other volunteers who were organised by Pittwater Eco Adventures, a couple of days after the unprecedented Northern Beaches floods brought on by heavy rain. During the floods many businesses and cars were damaged and residents of Narrabeen were told to evacuate. James Griffin MP, the Member for Manly, said the heavy rain, combined with the high tide, meant that, “low-lying businesses and residents were impacted.”
ICMS flood clean up volunteers were asked to help clear washed-up plastic from the beaches, preventing it ending up in the ocean. Shelly Beach is just a short walk from the ICMS campus and it is a place close to the hearts of students. The volunteers chose the beach as their clean up ‘patch’ for the morning.
There were some unusual finds in the clean-up, including bits of smashed up surfboard, a whole palm plant and even a toilet deodoriser. But the items which were most worrying were the multitude of small plastic pieces littering the beach along the shoreline. The usual shells which give Shelly Beach its name, was mixed with lots of vegetation debris, stick and leaves, but also soy sauce ‘fish’, bits of children’s broken buckets, bottle tops and many other brightly coloured unidentified objects. “The majority of the things that I picked up with small pieces of plastic, so dangerous for sea animals, especially turtles” said Leah.
During a coffee break, the students shared their concerns about the impact that climate change may be having on the weather patterns across the globe. They worried that these sorts of extreme weather events would grow more frequent throughout their lives and that they said they believed that not enough was being to slow down climate change.
The international students, especially, had been expecting Australia to be hot. They had read about the bushfires of 2019-2020 and were not expecting the damp start to the Sydney summer that they have been experiencing.
“Manly is a beautiful area and it’s sad to see what happened during the floods,” observed Alexia.
“Australian weather is never boring!”
As part of Pittwater Eco Adventures “Look after your local” campaign, we are spreading the message that we all need to take responsibility for our local area, our local marine life, and support local artists and retailers making a difference.
Read more about their workshops and programs https://www.pittwaterecoadventures.com/