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Yolanda, originally from far North Queensland and husband Raja, from the UK, are embracing parenthood on the Sunshine Coast with their two young children, Darcy and Dylan, after living in various countries on the African continent for the past six years.

The couple recently joined the monthly Montville Market with their information stall, Sunshine Coast Parents 4 Climate Action, a group they initiated. (AP4CA.org)

Whilst still in its first year, the membership is already over 5000. 

At the December Montville Market many parents and grandparents met Raja and Yolanda and their delightful babies and learnt about Parents for Climate Action.

Given the couple’s backgrounds they are well qualified in understanding the realities of impending disaster and solutions to avert them. 

Yolanda is an emergency specialist and has responded to scores of local and international crises including the 2010 Haiti earthquake, 2011 Queensland floods and the Christchurch earthquake, for which she received a Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal. She has most recently worked for the United Nations assisting various African countries in disaster response and preparedness.

Raja, an economist and former diplomat, currently works for a Norwegian company focused on unlocking renewable energy in various parts of Africa. These projects can lead to the transformation of remote African villages, such as with the installation of solar panels and storage.

The couple understand that we are at a ‘fork in the road’ moment that will determine the liveability of our planet and the resulting impacts on our children’s future, Raja works in the area of solutions: “‘Business as usual’ is not an option any more,” Raja says, “we need to transform our economy away from fossil fuel dependency, to one based on renewables as quickly as possible.”

Yolanda grew up in Mackay amongst coal miners, so she sees Australian Parents for Climate Action’s ask of ‘prioritising a smooth and fair transition for all workers and communities impacted by the climate crisis, including fossil fuel industry communities and indigenous communities’ as an important one.

“It is also important to alleviate some of this anxiety and create a sense of hope and empowerment for the children,” Yolanda adds. The Sunshine Coast AP4CA are hoping to hold sessions informed by psychologists on how parents can talk to their children about climate change.

Yolanda and other concerned parents, grandparents and carers will be meeting at 9am on the last Tuesday of the month in the back garden at the Homegrown Café, Palmwoods, to enjoy great coffee and conversation – children are welcome. The next being Tuesday January 28, so come along and join in, or find them on facebook: Sunshine Coast Parents for Climate Action.