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Climate Stories Winner: Tiana Ciavarella

Climate Change Stories Tiana

Tiana’s climate story

Moonee Valley Climate Stories Competition Winner

Category: Secondary School (13 – 18 years of age)

Growing up in Melbourne, I learnt to find beauty in all weather; rainy, sunny, cloudy or a mix of all 3! I’ve also been fortunate enough to hike in different terrains around the country, ranging from steep rocky mountains in Mount Buffalo, Victoria, to sandy dry beaches like Wineglass Bay in Tasmania. While enjoying the ‘untouched’ scenery, I felt a calming connection to the Earth, but couldn’t help but fear that my children and generations after that won’t be able to have the same experiences I have. I thought about the millions of trees cut down each year and the litter filling up the blue oceans of Australia. I then redirected my thoughts to how I could play a part in the solution to climate change, by educating myself and sharing my knowledge with friends and family.

Once I began my high school journey at St Columba’s College, I jumped at the opportunity to join the Environment Group. I knew this would be a great way to get involved and take action in my community. The members of the group and I discussed upcoming events at school and outside the College, as well as how we could make an environmental impact in our community. Through initiatives like ‘Plastic Free July’ and projects like the school native & veggie garden, I learnt why it’s important to reduce plastic usage, develop a strong relationship with nature and act in an environmentally responsible way in day-to-day life.

I was lucky enough to win the design competition for the veggie garden, and was able to help plant the native garden. But all these experiences wouldn’t have been possible without Adele Roeder,
the 2021 Environment Captain at St Columba’s. From my first group meeting, Adele’s passion for the changing environment was evident. She inspired me to take the earth’s concerns more seriously by taking action to tackle environmental topics at school and within my community. So far, I’ve talked to my homeroom about why it’s vital to take steps, even if they are small, to address climate change, as well as other issues regarding our planet. I have also participated in a school initiative in collaboration with Monash University, the Precious Plastics Program. This program involves collecting plastic lids and bottle caps to be turned into granules and recycled. This contributes to climate change because plastic is responsible for 3.8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, meaning that reusing our plastic instead of throwing it away will help the climate change crisis.

Speaking of the climate crisis, let me tell you a story about my walk to the park a couple of months ago: it was a day in Winter but it was surprisingly warm. I was with my dad and we were going to a park close to my home for some soccer practice. As I began to run down to the oval, my dad stopped me and told me that he’d noticed there’d been more drought-resistant plants planted in the past few decades. I asked him why this was, and he said that researchers have found that the earth’s temperature is now 1°C hotter than around 200 years ago, and that this warming plays a part in the evaporation of water and the occurrence of droughts. I felt concerned but curious about that fact, and went home to research more about this rise in temperature. Apparently, scientists believe that the earth will keep getting hotter and in the next 5 years, 1.5°C of warming will occur. The likelihood of this happening has doubled since last year (2020).

I feel worried about the impacts of climate change, but I’ve also accepted what’s going on and I’m willing to take action. Some ways to do this include carpooling, supporting local farmers and going to environment clubs.

Continuing to advocate and use my voice to make a difference will help ensure that I’m doing my part to help reduce climate change. I’ll keep reducing, reusing and recycling, and carry on growing my own fruits and veggies at home, as well as participate in school and community initiatives.

My active hope for the future remains, but my hope will deteriorate if we are not perseverant or committed. I feel we need to be all in so that we can live in a safe, free world and live in harmony with mother nature.

In all, I’ve learnt that making a difference won’t happen overnight, but in order to get close, we need to have hope. We need to have the right strategies and an ambitious plan.

Like John Heywood once said “Nothing is impossible to a willing heart”.


Drought with a flower growing, showing hope for the climate. Climate change; flower growing in cracked dry earth; climate temperature rising; global warming; climate stories

Winning story by Tiana Ciavarella