Youth Ocean Carnival

Mayor Baker and Willoughby Mayor Tanya Taylor with Miriki performing arts

World-First Youth Ocean Carnival at Luna Park Celebrates Youth-Led Conservation Efforts

The world-first Youth Ocean Carnival celebrated this week at Sydney’s Luna Park was a milestone for youth engagement in environmental advocacy. The SYD24 Youth Ocean Carnival, held on Wednesday 5 June, brought together over 600 students from 27 schools across New South Wales. The event was designed to foster a deep understanding of ocean conservation through interactive and engaging programs. 

Timothy Johnston, the founder and CEO of Youth Ocean Carnival, emphasised the importance of the initiative: “Our mission is to inspire and empower young people with the knowledge and tools they need to lead the fight against climate change and protect our oceans for future generations.” Kal Glanznig, co-founder of Youth Ocean Carnival added “Our goal is empowering and championing young people to be solution-based innovators. The carnival will inspire positivity and action for the challenges we are facing with our ocean and climate.”

The day was filled with educational activities, including panel discussions and breakout sessions that covered a range of topics such as plastic pollution, biodiversity conservation, and the importance of the High Seas Treaty. The event also featured a deep dive panel with wildlife advocate Ben Dessen, speaker and educator Sophia Skarparis, and NASA scientist Stephen Rodan, who shared insights on marine protection. 

The carnival featured Luna Park's newest attraction, the immersive nature light projection 'Life Below Water'. This spectacle, designed to align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14, showcases vibrant imagery of marine life to emphasise the importance of ocean conservation. 

Global Sony Photography Ambassador, Craig Parry was a highlight of the event, giving students access to a world class creative and immersive projection experience in the new state of the art space of Luna Park's Big Top. Craig shared his up close and personal encounter with the rare white whale 'Migaloo' who was last seen in 2020 off the coast of Port Macquarie. “This is a strong reminder of the vulnerability of our underwater world and all the species which call it home.” Craig Parry shared.

A lineup of speakers also shared their insights and experiences of ocean conservation. Bodhi Patil, Gen Z ocean climate solutionist, explained the importance of the High Seas Treaty, a United Nations initiative currently awaiting international ratification. “The treaty aims to create a legal framework for protecting the majority of the world’s oceans that sit outside national waters. This treaty will play an important role in achieving the global target of protecting 30 percent of the world’s coastal and marine areas by 2030,” Bodhi said.

Miriki performing arts performed at the event. Pauline Lampton, Director and CEO of Miriki Performing art was joined by Elder Aunty Roberta Mundraby on behalf of Youth Ocean Carnival. “Our performance was based on the principles of recognising the contributions of our elders; the significance of both males and females and their responsibilities in preserving, upholding and caring for the land. It was truly inspiring to witness the youth display a keen enthusiasm for taking on leadership roles in conservation of the ocean and nature,” said Pauline Lampton.

Mayor Zoë Baker said: “This event is a testament to the power and importance of youth-led leadership in shaping a sustainable future for our planet. It’s also an important reminder that young people’s voices and actions are vital to address the urgent impacts of climate change and to make a positive and lasting impact.” 

For more information about the Youth Ocean Carnival and future events, visit Home - Youth Ocean Carnival.

Published: 5 June 2024