Switched on Schools

Being the change you wish to see in the world.
Mahatma Gandhil.

Two schools across the country are showing leadership in environmental ansd sustainable change. Agents of societal change, students from Freemantle Senior High School and Melbourne Girls College are partnering with local community, influencing policy makers and through change leadership, are intrinsically motivated to make a difference. Pedagogical transformation to an otherwise outdated and uninspiring curriculum has led these students to deeper learning and more ambitious expectations about their own future.

In 2012, Freemantle SHS became the first Carbon Neutral High School in Australia by reducing their fossil fuel use, implementing renewable energy projects and capturing carbon emissions through tree planting and using a ‘whole-school’ approach and with the help of community partnerships, Freemantle SCS, cut their carbon emissions by over 15% in the first three years of the Carbon Neutral Project.

Watch their video: Champion, audit, partner, action, repeat 

With the aim of making their school carbon neutral

Melbourne Girls’ College is an award winning sustainable school, proudly partnering with the City of Yarra with the ambition to be Carbon Neutral by 2020. MGC is the 2015 recipient of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, receiving funding to put plans into action and now boasts an interactive PV solar array, pedal and ergo generators, a microhydroturbine and solar powered seal fountain with a strategy to reduce energy use to achieve their goal.

I had the pleasure of visiting Melbourne Girls’ College during a student led sustainability conference late last year. The passion, co-learning and collaborative culture among students from a number of schools involved in the conference was inspiring.

The MGC students also held an action to celebrate their school’s pledge and send a message to decision makers to follow their lead and power all schools and Australia with 100% renewable energy !

Huge congratulations to the MGC environment team, students, staff and parents for leading the way and adopting the pledge !

Victorian schools are encouraged to adopt renewable energy practices with the help of Sustainability Victoria, but so far none have achieved carbon neutral status.

The Victorian Department of Education and Training said two-thirds of schools’ total energy use was consumed outside of school hours. It also estimated that as much as 40 per cent of all energy use in schools is not essential.

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What is most impressive is that both schools have leadership teams that enable student led deep learning.  The students experience the CNP at South Fremantle SHS in all learning areas. It is embedded deeply in the school curriculum, for example in sustainability themes in Science, Marine and Ocean, and Earth and Environment studies. It is embedded in qualifications such as our students’ achievements and hands on experience in conservation through endorsed community programs such as the Rio Tinto Earth Assist Program. It is equally embedded in community service; since 2008 South FreemantleSCS students have propagated and planted over 29,000 trees in the school grounds, in the Wheatbelt and in bush-fire affected Toodyay via our ‘Seed to Tree’ project.

Tree planting in the wheatbelt

Tree planting in the wheatbelt

By involving students in deep learning they become active in caring for our planet’s future, applying their learning in meaningful ways inside the school and outside in the community. South Fremantle SHS is one of only two schools in WA nominated to participate in STELR, a national initiative that encourages students’ participation in Maths and Sciences with a particular focus on renewable energy. Twenty one students attended the 2013 Australian Youth Climate Coalition Event – ‘Start the Switch’ workshops, mentoring and training in sustainability leadership.

It makes me so proud to know that young people are doing great things to make positive change in their schools and communities. These are the global citizens of tomorrow, TODAY.

It’s Real

More people are on the same page and acknowledge climate change is real. Climate change is not some mythical creature flying over rainbows.

It’s real.

Education is going to be part of climate action so that every person on the planet is aware of what climate change is and what needs to be done to achieve quality air, water and land across the planet.

Taking climate action: Global Goal 13:

What is Global Goal 13?

“Climate action” sounds like a vague term. But it basically means doing your part to keep the planet clean and healthy. Ok, still not clear?

Channel your inner hippy for a moment… Continue reading

Aha Hardy

Many months ago I came across a TED talk by Elora Hardy.  I marvelled at her attitude to designing stuctures in bamboo.

Magical houses made of bamboo   Take a look at this inspiring TED TALK
Elora Hardy’s designed her dream house was when she was nine.
She shares the potential of bamboo, as both a sustainable resource and a spark for the imagination.

Elora’s housebuilding a sustainable future

Then months later a friend was inspiring me with talk of our proposed visit to Bali and a visit to Green School.  We checked out a TED talk about this unique school built by John Hardy but still the penny hadn’t dropped.

You know when you have that AHA moment.  Well that happened!!

John is Elora’s father.

 

 

 

 

Action-the LOUDEST words-knitting nannas against gas       

As Knitting Nannasteachers we work towards our learners thinking through issues and forming morally just, ethically balanced views garnered from diverse perspectives.  We teach from the local aspect to the global view appropriate to the development of the learner.

I share this action-from a group of ladies who will not be silenced, who along with their shared passion of a grass roots craft (pardon the pun) are not afraid to voice their concern for the planet and the welfare of the grandchildren.

Knitting Nannas ask ALP for answers; get long yarn not worth knitting

Saturday, May 21, 2016  by Pip HinmanSydney

The Illawarra Knitting Nannas Against Gas (IKNAG) held a knit-in outside the office of the federal deputy leader of the ALP, Tanya Plibersek, in Sydney on May 16.

IKNAG’s Annie Malow contacted Plibersek with two questions asking for “yes” or “no” answers.

The first was: Do you support a ban on CSG mining in drinking water catchment? The second was: Would you move legislation for such a ban?

Plibersek was not in her office, but two of her staffers came out offering the Nannas several balls of wool — all the wrong colours.

Malow said: “We know how busy she is campaigning … but really, she left us 1.5 pages of waffle words about ‘gunnas’ and half policies. It was a long, long yarn not worth knitting.”

The Knitting Nannas annoy all politicians equally.

It is election time. We are asking all the candidates very simple questions. Pollies, if you don’t answer the question the first time, you will get to have another go. If you fail to answer thereafter, we will publicise that you refused to answer the question. Whether the electorate then takes that as being a refusal to answer or just darn plain ignorance is yet to be seen. The questions aren’t hard. The answers aren’t hard. And we, the public, aren’t stupid, and are as sick as all get out of being treated that way. If you have problems with the grammar of the above sentence, please write it down with the appropriate corrections and send it to your local MP.  Their ghasts will be flabbered

Knitting nanas against gas

The publishing of these views do not necessarily support any political party or alliance.

 

Forests, fuels and the future

woman and wood fire Stove top Alliance  Geneva, Tuesday 31 March 2015

What is REDD+?
REDD+ stands for countries’ efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. Continue reading

For the love of trees

Loved tree 1loving tree 2100 yr old tree lost

 

On one walk this week I came across these trees.  The first two photos showed a love and respect for trees and their importance in the lives of the families living nearby. Continue reading

Public-private partnerships solving global issues

woman and wood fire Stove top Alliance

The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is a public-private partnership that seeks to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and protect the environment by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions.   Continue reading

3 reasons for adding global perspectives to ALL learning areas

Capture

The advantage of bringing global perspectives to history, geography, civics and citizenship, humanities, art, drama, physical education, social education, philosophy, literacy-in fact, to all learning areas not defined is being noticed by increasing numbers of educators. So what dispositions are being developed? Continue reading

The MDGs-where to now?

MDG momentum
We are in the last year of a fifteen year program, the Millenium Development Goals. In the year 2000, eight goals including the alleviation of poverty, education for all children until year 6 and the eradication of HIV AIDS and malaria were agreed to by 192 member nations of the United Nations.

The latest report examines the progress towards achieving the MDGs. It can only be said that the MDGs have made a profound difference in people’s lives. Global poverty was halved by 2010. It is believed poverty can be eradicated within the next generation. Ninety per cent of children in developing regions now enjoy primary education, and enrolment of girl has increased. Remarkable gains have also been made in the fight against malaria and tuberculosis, along with improvements in all health indicators. The likelihood of a child dying before age five has been nearly cut in half over the last two decades. We also met the target of halving the proportion of people who lack access to improved sources of water, although that is not uniform across the globe.