A National Conference for Senior Secondary Students

2-6 July, 2002

Newman College, University of Melbourne

Update APRIL, 2002

Why is this event so important?

At no other time have so many groups of people – national leaders, scientists, business leaders and community members -acknowledged that it is urgent we work together to create a more sustainable future. The 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro marked the beginning of the change. No-one could dispute the facts: our dwindling resources, increased pollution levels, clearing of land and our loss of countless species could not continue. Many controls were put in place, but were they enough? Was it all too late?

We are all accountable for the state of our planet. This is the Year of ‘Rio Plus 10’. Just as this is the time for whole nations to reflect on their practices, we too need to think seriously about how we are preparing our young people to take up their responsibility for the future.

Are they aware of and well-informed about the many complex ethical, scientific and social issues that are involved in preserving our Earth’s resources? What are their values? Do they have the skills to inspire and enable people to value and nurture the Earth and all its inhabitants? Do they believe in themselves enough to speak out and act when it is needed? Do we give them opportunities for constructive action?

This conference is a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for young people to be informed, empowered and inspired to create a sustainable future. Make sure that your students are part of this life-changing experience.


"Do you have a passion for conservation and ideas you wish to share?"

"Do you wish for a friendly, supportive environment in which to voice your opinions?

Are you interested in being a key leader in developing your school’s environmental consciousness?

Then the "Creating a Sustainable Future" Conference is for you! It is an opportunity for like-minded students to take positive action toward creating the brighter, more sustainable future they envisage."

Gemma Beard

Student Organiser



  • Profiles of keynote speakers
  • Conference activities
  • Who is involved?
  • About our venue



Lucy Turner

Founder, Lawyers for Forests

As a volunteer for the Wilderness Society, Lucy quickly realised the support legal professionals could offer environmentalists struggling to prevent the destruction of old growth forest. As a graduate lawyer, Lucy decided to form a lawyers’ group that would work to improve the legal protection of forest ecosystems, encourage awareness about the corporations involved in native forest logging, and offer practical advice and legal support to protesters. Lucy’s vision and commitment has inspired the legal profession and many lawyers who had previously felt they had to leave their ideals at the office door.

Greg Bourne

Managing Director, BP Australia

One of the key factors in creating a sustainable future will be the role of companies in developing sustainable technologies, particularly in energy production.

Since 1997, BP has been one of the first trans-national energy companies to recognise the impact of fossil fuel use on global warming. It has called for government leadership in reducing greenhouse emissions and has become a leader in developing renewable energy technologies. Greg Bourne will highlight the leadership role and responsibilities of companies which have the expertise to create the technology that can tackle critical sustainability issues. Where does the final responsibility of companies lay - to shareholders, or the community as a whole? How can corporate goals of profit, equity and sustainability can be put into practice?

Senator Bob Brown

Leader, The Greens

We are an integral part of the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil that feeds us, the forests that clean our air. What happens to these building blocks of life happens to us.

Bob Brown has worked for 25 years to protect the wilderness forests of Tasmania and Australia and to fight on broader environmental issues. As Leader of his Party, Bob Brown has helped to develop a platform of sustainability which incorporates social, environmental and human components. Bob’s presentation will focus on the interconnectedness of the environment, sustainability and human rights and the need for strong, non violent political activity to create a sustainable future. He will show our youth how they can be practical leaders in helping to challenge and change current unsustainable practices.

Michael Krockenberger

Strategy Director, The Australian Conservation Foundation

Is globalisation costing us the Earth?

Corporate globalisation is the ‘flavour’ of the era. Simply speaking this means the opportunity for businesses to buy and sell goods and services around the world, without restriction. To date, governments and the business community assure us that globalisation is inevitable and that it leads to a higher standard of living. In his address, Michael Krockenberger will point out that globalisation is an ambivalent force that creates problems as well as benefits to the environment and societies. How can we ensure that our lives and the lives of our children will benefit from a global economy? What rules do we need to have to ensure a global economy doesn’t treat the Earth as a disposable resource?

‘A sustainable future demands that we act to repair the damage we have done and create a fairer and more environmentally responsible society’

Don Henry, Australian Conservation Foundation


The Conference Venue

Participants will live together for five days in the inspiring academic atmosphere of historic Newman College at the University of Melbourne. Designed by Walter Burley Griffin, this College was recently added to a world list of significant 20th century buildings.

Set in beautiful grounds in the heart of the City, the excellent facilities include single rooms.

From stimulating conversation in the magnificent dining room to quiet contemplation in the peaceful quadrangle, Newman College is an ideal venue for this exciting student conference.


The Student Presentation Day

The final day of this conference aims to give students the opportunity to display their ideas on the future they want and the steps we all must take in order to achieve this.

It is a day to let our music, drama, art, dance and public speaking and other talents shine through presentations to a high-profile audience, including politicians.

It is the students’ chance to make an impact, to inspire one another to act and to give our current leaders a chance to recognise the overwhelming passion and commitment of Australia’s youth.

Where are we going?

You can choose two field trips from a wide range of opportunities designed to provide first-hand experience of sustainability problems and solutions.

Some of the field trips:

  • Solar Energy and Eco-Architecture
  • Recycling in Action
  • CERES Community Environment Centre
  • Tree planting and revegetation project
  • Dolphin Institute
  • Salt of the Earth - Salinity
  • Royal Botanic Gardens – Environment Education Unit
  • Genethics Network – What’s in our food?

What are we doing at night?

Some of our evening activities are:

  • Welcome to Melbourne – an exciting local adventure
  • The Great Challenge – a series of surprise challenges to overcome
  • The Rock Show – a selection of live bands and an eco-comedian
  • The Great Debate – a debate that will have you on the edge of your seat!




Are you looking for a sponsor?

Many organisations around Australia are helping to promote our conference to schools in their local districts. In many instances they are offering at least half- sponsorships for interested students. To date these include:

City of Monash

Contact person: Lynelle Marks

( (03) 9518 3423

City of Melton

Contact person: Kelly Kendrik

( (03) 9747 7227

Shire of Yarra Ranges

Contact person: Joe Natoli

( (03) 9579 7224

Catholic Education Office

Dioceses of Melbourne, Sandhurst and


Contact person: Caroline Smith

( (03) 9953 3281



If you are sincerely interested in becoming a local leader in sustainability and want to be part of the Conference, your local Council and School may well be prepared to help you. They are always looking for young leaders with initiative.

Give them a call and take a copy of our



For further enquiries, please contact:

Dr Caroline Smith

School of Education

Australian Catholic University

Phone: (03) 9953 3281

Fax: (03) 9953 3475

Email: C.Smith@patrick.acu.edu.au

Postal Address: Locked Bag 4115

Fitzroy, VIC, 3065

Our supporters

We thank the following organisations for their support and involvement:

*Australian Catholic University

*Australian Conservation Foundation - Michael Krockenberger

*Australian Greens - Senator Bob Brown

*Avila College

*BP Australia – Greg Bourne

*Brotherhood of St Laurence - Basil Varghese

*Catholic Education Office - Dioceses of Melbourne, Sandhurst and Sale

*City of Monash

*City of Melton

*Cobden Technical School

*Department of Education and Training

*Department of Natural Resources and Environment


*Koonung Secondary College

*Lawyers for Forests – Lucy Turner


*Mater Christi College

*Methodist Ladies’ College

*RMIT Global Sustainability Unit

*Schools for a Sustainable Future

*Sola Hart

*Shire of Yarra Ranges

*Star of the Sea College

*Pacific Hydro


*Young Environmental Protectors (YEPS)

*Xavier College


The Conference organisers also welcome the support of other Councils, community groups and businesses who would like to help students attend the Conference.

To register as a sponsor, please contact Joseph Natoli on 9579 7224.