Amelia’s off to Antarctica – and beyond

RUGGED UP: Amelia Telford prepares for her trip to Antarctica.
RUGGED UP: Amelia Telford prepares for her trip to Antarctica.

THERE are some people you meet and you just know they are going to go places.

That is true (both literally and metaphorically) for Lismore's Amelia Telford.

The former Trinity school captain is currently preparing for a trip to Antarctica ("Just 13 more sleeps," she said excitedly when visiting The Echo office last week). But she has been working away as a youth ambassador for the environment on many fronts in recent years and will take up a position with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) in Melbourne when she gets back from her icy expedition.

Oh, and she got accepted into medicine at university, but has deferred that to see where her passion for climate issues takes her.

Amelia has been selected to be part of an international youth delegation to Antarctica called the '2041 Antarctic Youth Ambassador program'. Participants get to experience first hand the beauty of the fragile Antarctic landscape while learning more about climate change and what can be done to protect it.

Amelia said 2041 is when the international treaty protecting Antarctica runs out and is to be re-assessed.

"It's an annual expedition that aims to build networks around the world to make sure when the treaty is re-assessed, that it (Antarctica) is still protected from oil and other mining interests," she said.

While it was an honour to be selected for the program, participants have to pay their own way, which meant Amelia had to raise over $20,000!

She has been doing this through numerous fundraising activities such as cake stalls, auctions, band nights and writing hundreds of emails to possible corporate sponsors.

She's also been working at three jobs since finishing school. It wasn't looking good for making the $20,000 target and her dad told her she might have to give all the money back. But a donation of $5000 from author and former Greenpeace director Paul Gilding has got her over the line.

"I think I'm more determined than ever when dad says I can't do something," she said.

Amelia was just off the plane after a week in Melbourne for the AYCC's "climate boot camp" when she came into The Echo, and said her priority next year will be to get indigenous communities and rural schools more involved in the climate movement.

"The issue is just so important, I feel extremely passionate about it. Lots of other people feel passionate but don't get a chance to express it, especially in indigenous communities," she said. "This international expedition is a chance to meet people from all over the world. It will be amazing to hear their stories and keep in touch with them and help inspire and learn from them."

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