By Monique Kuzeff, Te-Min Tu and Huijun Su.
Childhood idols Steve Irwin and David Attenbrough helped inspire 22 year-old Jordan Crook’s interest in conservation from an early age.
‘I’ve done a lot of conservation work over my life,’ said Crook, who won the Shire of Yarra Ranges Young Environmentalist of the Year award in 2012. ‘I have involved myself in bushland regeneration projects in high school and worked with conservation groups like Sea Shepherd.’
He is one of four lower house candidates for the new Save the Planet Party established last year to focus on climate issues such as reversing global warming and restoring bio-diversity. The party is also contesting Brunswick, Frankston and Northcote.
Crook is studying conservation and land management at Swinburne University’s Wantirna Campus while also completing an apprenticeship with Parks and Gardens.
‘Any chance to put climate, wildlife and biodiversity issues in front of people I will take it,’ Crook said of his role as candidate for Save the Planet Party. ‘I really like the party because it had policies based on science instead of politics. It is a great area to be a candidate focusing on climate change.’
An only child who grew up in Boronia, a short walk from the Dandenong Ranges National Park, Crook said the ranges would benefit from policies focusing on climate action, wildlife protection, and reducing evasive weeds and species. He had emailed the party to express an interest after hearing about it from other activists.
The fledgling party’s national campaign manager, co-founder Adrian Whitehead, said Crook was ‘a driven young man with an incredible sense of what is right and wrong’. ‘He is ambitious in the sense that he wants positive outcomes but not for personal gain,’ he said.
Crook said it is difficult to take impactful climate action because of strong resistance from industries and unions.
‘Australia is a strong country but … it drags its feet when it comes to climate change,’ Crook said.
‘I want to push for a transition from old ways of dealing with fossil fuels by using the most relevant science to get to zero emissions as soon as possible. I want to see climate science respected and proper climate action taken, because there will be warming so we need diversity to breed resilience.’
He said evasive weeds and species were ‘a big issue in the Dandenongs’. ‘Weeds are taking over bush areas, increasing fire loads and decreasing biodiversity,’ Crook said. ‘It is going to take some strategic long term plans to fix this problem.’
Monique Kuzeff, Te-Min Tu and Huijun Su are Swinburne journalism students