EREA Young Leaders Gather to Begin 2021

Leadership and Ecology: Caring for Country, Caring for Our Common Home

In the spirit of the times, this year’s EREA Young Leader’s Gathering has taken on a new form, as we continue to look at ways of maintaining social connection in the midst of COVID. Fifty-four young leaders from EREA and Associate schools across Australia and New Zealand gathered online on 20 January to listen to one another, share ideas, reflect on the responsibilities of leadership and the skills that they bring to this important work. Our young leaders found the opportunities for reflection and conversation a valuable means of affirming their choice to accept the invitation to leadership in their communities. It is hoped that the connections made during this day will support them throughout the year and that there will be a possibility of further online connection, as well as physical gatherings in regions later in the year.

We were joined for the day by Dr Anne Poelina, a Nyikina Warrwa woman who belongs to the Mardoowarra—the lower Fitzroy River in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Anne spoke of her desire for young people, particularly young leaders, to “fall in love” with our rivers and landscapes. She encouraged each young person to seek and recognise the specialness of their own local environment whether it be metropolitan, regional or rural. She outlined the challenge to live in harmony with all creation, treating all parts as being of one living system of which we share. Our young leaders went away with a greater sense of our responsibility to care for the Country they live on and for our common home, Earth, in a broader sense.