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Ellen Sandell

Corporate, Inspirational Speaker, Social Commentator, Speaking Out

Ellen has been National Director of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, one of Australia’s largest non-profit climate organisations. During her leadership, the organisation grew from a handful of friends wanting to change the world to a national organisation with over 80,000 members and the ear of politicians and business leaders due to it’s quirky and innovative campaigns.

Ellen has become one of Australia’s leading commentators and campaigners on the issue of climate change. Since leaving the AYCC in late 2012 she has worked in politics, as Campaign Manager for Simon Sheikh’s Senate campaign in the ACT (mobilising thousands of volunteers and just missing out on a Senate seat) and as a Senior Campaigns Advisor for Greens leader Senator Christine Milne.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about solving the climate crisis and seeing a safe climate for our future and our children’s future. I’m also passionate about how social movements have changed history, and the role young people can play in this.

What have been the highlights of your career?

In 2009 I was featured in The Age Melbourne Magazine as one of the top 100 influential Melburnians of 2009, and was recognised as Melbourne’s leading environmentalist, winning the Melbourne Awards for Individual Contribution to the Environment 2009. That same year, I was joint winner of Australia’s most prestigious environment award for young people – the Banksia ‘Young Environmentalist of the Year’ award.

Whilst studying a Science/Arts degree at the University of Melbourne, I led a successful campaign to get the University to commit to carbon neutrality, which was pretty amazing!

I’ve also worked on several large projects at the AYCC, including Power Shift (national youth climate summit with over 1500 participants in Sydney in 2009), Power Vote, which saw young people talk to over 45,000 voters during the 2010 election – and saw our mascot Ellie the Climate Elephant gain national media attention by chasing Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott around the country!

I also led a 2-week, 300km, 80-person walk all the way from Port Augusta to Adelaide, calling on the Government to invest in Australia’s first solar thermal plant. The campaign has had a lot of success and a feasibility study into the plant is currently being held.

Where have you works been published?

I have written articles for The Age, the National Times, ABC’s The Drum and Environment websites, Peppermint magazine, CrikeyNew Matilda, and more.

What themes are recurring in your work?

Climate change, youth empowerment, change-making, social movements, activism, environment, sustainability, social justice, cutting-edge campaigning, leadership.

Where were you born?

Alice Springs, Northern Territory.

Haven’t I seen you before?

You might have seen me writing for The Age or on TV doing countless interviews during the carbon price debate in 2011. You might have also seen me dressed as an elephant chasing Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott around the campaign train during the 2010 election, making sure they don’t ignore climate change – the elephant in the room!

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