SFSF - Schools For a Sustainable Future
Joseph Natoli, SFSF Project Director, surrounded by happy, enthusiastic children
synergy vol 1 issue 1

whats new      whats old      about us      our stories      get involved      home


Community Health = sustainable futures
At CERES, a community environmental park in Brunswick, humans and nature work together in balance.


Schools For a Sustainable Future! What a magnificent thought and what a practical challenge as resources are used up at ever faster rates (this includes humans, who are now often referred to as mere resources!)  A sustainable future in which our kids can flourish depends heavily on how we influence policies in the present, and this influence relies so much on educational strategies.

How well we integrate the health needs of humans and the biosphere in our education programs is crucial; for it is these overlapping and separate requirements of humans and the biosphere wherein lies sustainability.

These needs are well attended to at CERES (Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies).  Local people in Brunswick have reversed the directions of the century by transforming an old tip site into an urban oasis.

The soil has been improved by gardeners using Mediterranean skills; nutrient cycles proceed without major pollutants and dislocations; we can not single handedly protect the ozone layer, but we do have monitoring and education about UVB and an 'atmospheric' program on global warming.  Our policy of 'no herbicides' means we have no poison in the soil, but we do need to measure, map, assess and counter electromagnetic radiation (EMR), for the site is situated under transmission lines.  Biological diversity has increased as kingfishers and cormorants cohabit with 70000 visitors to the site each year.  In protecting the ecology we are largely protecting ourselves; humans, however, have other needs too, and CERES provides for these through music nights, festivals, action groups, technical and social endeavour, and community responsibilities.

The mutual needs of humans and the biosphere are well recognised at CERES.  Ideally, we hope that a combination of good school policy and good educational practice will see this understanding spread to all schools in Victoria, Australia.

At CERES many of our experiential education programs are focused on sustainable futures: Australia 2030 Futures Trail, wind and solar generation for the Melbourne grid, energy saving in houses, permaculture, enriched community life, indigenous plants, enhanced habitat and biodiversity, cycle and walking tracks, community workshops, initiatives for the local economy, healthy food, festivals, Third World development and links with Asian neighbours, recycling and waste minimisation and environmental theatre all contribute to helping to create a future we can all share sustainably.

CERES is happy to receive visits from all schools concerned about the future, and for a modest fee is able to provide some in-school services and advice concerning recycling, energy, environmental education and environmental theatre presentations.  And remember, if you're low on funds your local council or regional waste management service may like to subsidise your school's visit to CERES!

Let's try to think creatively about the choices we make - for today's choices will directly affect our future.  At all costs, we must avoid a Woody Allen predicament:

'More than any other time in history mankind faces a cross- roads.  One path leads to despair and hopelessness, the other to total extinction.  Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.'

We need to forge an alternative path, starting now, and take appropriate action.

For further information please contact:

Eric Bottomley, Manager
CERES Education
Phone: +61 03 9387 4472


Top of Page


Schools For a Sustainable Future

1 Curdies St.
E. Bentleigh Vic. 3165
Joe Natoli
Ph: (03) 9579-7224     Fax: (03) 9579-6153      Mobile: 0411-568-523


Website designed & maintained by

Last Updated on 21st February 2000


© 2000 Schools for a Sustainable Future