Climate change hit home to 15-year-old environmental advocate Olivia Hoger last year when a fire storm forced her family to flee Peregian Beach.
They were refugees unable to return home for a week.
“My dad was away at work, it was just my mum and my sister and I, so that was really hard,” Olivia said.
“That’s when it kind of sunk in, like ‘wow this is affecting us’.”
Experts visited her school, Good Shepherd Lutheran College, during the weeks of ongoing fires emergencies to talk about bushfire solutions like Indigenous cool burnings.
That’s when she put her hand up to become a member of the Noosa Youth Advocacy Group.
It was formed this year by the Noosa Environmental Education Hub to have a say on securing a more sustainable future.
Climate change is a hot topic with Olivia and her fellow members who come from Good Shepherd, St Andrews Anglican College and Sunshine Beach State High School.
“It’s important that we address this because this is going to be a game changer for our future,” Olivia said.
“This is something that we can change, so we’re using our voices by raising our concerns.
“I’d like to see more support for Zero Emissions Noosa, because they’re doing such a good job.”
Her group is also backing Plastic Free Noosa’s upcoming launch of aluminium recyclable bottles.
“When they do this it’s going to be really effective,” Olivia said.
“It’s just little things like this, little steps that can help Noosa deal with this battle.
“It’s all about community action, one person can’t make a change unless they’re backed.”
Olivia has been greatly encouraged by the Noosa Council climate change response plan.
“That was inspiring and empowering to know that they are doing something to help with this,” she said.
Noosa EEHub co-director Dalia Mikhail said the young advocates group was a result of seed-funding by the Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation for school extension programs.
The group was officially launched at the Community Environment and Sustainability Group Forum held at Sunshine Beach on Wednesday.
One of their top priorities was to deliver a youth climate summit as part of Noosa Council’s Climate Week in March next year.
“The ideas and enthusiasm are flowing from the group and I can see this becoming a showcase for other communities,” Ms Mikhail said.