Larissa founded the Centre for Sustainability Leadership in her bedroom at the age of 24, and was a member of Environment Victoria’s board. The centre she founded is now a registered not-for-profit group with more than 100 volunteers, a Melbourne office and a partnership with the United Nations.
The centre runs the Future Sustainability Leaders program which takes a group of young Victorians who demonstrate potential and mentors them to lead efforts to create a more sustainable world.
Together, the program’s participants and volunteer mentors analyse the root causes of pressing sustainability challenges and explore lateral solutions. Guest lecturers share the secrets of their success, and students harness these insights to create and manage innovative projects for cultural and behavioural change.
Environment Minister Peter Garrett presented Larissa with the award, saying that her achievements show her great potential as an environmental leader.
“As an environmental leader whose generation is next in line in taking up the fight against climate change, Larissa’s leadership and dedication to our environment sets a great example and bodes well for the future of our country,” he said.
Larissa has worked as a research scientist at the Australian National University, studying the extinction event of Australia’s megafuana, helped save a forest by creating an ecotourism lodge in Costa Rica, and rehabilitated endangered primates and big cats in Bolivia.