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

Synergy Issue 1, Mar 1998

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Welcome to Synergy, the magazine of Schools for a Sustainable Future!

Creating a future which sustains both us and the earth is no small task. The issues around developing a sustainable society seem limitless - in fact, the complexity of the problem may be the main reason our society often puts it into the 'too hard' basket.

Nevertheless, all scientific evidence suggests we must change the direction that our society is taking. Schools For a Sustainable Future (SFSF) believes that a cooperative, 'synergistic' approach is critical: we must bring together people, businesses and community organizations if real changes are to occur.

SFSF is an organisation which unites. It achieves this in two main ways. Firstly, it's vision is to bring together major - but usually independent - sectors of our society in aid of our common future. By uniting schools, business, government, community organisations and interested individuals, SFSF hopes to provide a framework which can inspire and assist our community to take the necessary steps towards a healthy future.

Secondly, the crux of SFSF - what makes it so valuable for schools - is that it unites all environmental issues - ranging from water, air and soil quality through to making enlightened choices as consumers - under the common theme of creating a Sustainable Future.

A key element in SFSF is encouraging practical environmental activity at a grassroots level. We believe action creates interest and commitment. Most importantly, we want the actions of our children and their community supporters to highlight the problems facing our society, and create a social environment where our leaders seek first to maintain social and environmental stability.

One of Synergy's roles is to showcase our community's cooperative efforts to develop solutions for our environmental predicament. This means we want your input! Send us your letters, comments, articles about your environmental initiatives, and most importantly, offers of practical support for the children and schools who decide to take up the challenge of learning to live sustainably.

In this first edition you'll find a full explanation of  the Schools For a Sustainable Future project and the opportunities it offers for schools, businesses, councils and community organisations. You'll also find stories on inspiring school environmental projects, businesses who are turning environmental priorities into business objectives, and environmental education organizations which offer a wealth of knowledge and assistance for schools wanting to implement projects. Features of this edition include:

  • an insightful overview of what a sustainable society 'should' look like from CERES, the well-known Melbourne community environmental group. A big THANK YOU to CERES for generously providing a superb monster worm bin as one of the prizes for schools that become Supporters of Schools For a Sustainable Future.

  • the first in a series of four articles detailing the ecological value and current mismanagement of the old-growth forests of East Gippsland. While it often seems difficult to address the destruction of distant forests in the Amazon or Indonesia, we can certainly work to prevent the destruction of some of the most precious ecosystems remaining in Victoria.

  • 'Educating For Life', by Caroline Smith, lecturer in Environmental Education at the Australian Catholic University. Caroline offers an eloquent vision for the direction education needs to take to encourage sustainable practices. The ACU is also offering schools participating in SFSF an opportunity to have an enthusiastic Environmental Education student assisting their school project during the third term.

  • an excellent fundraising opportunity offered by Gumleaf Aromatics. We believe this scheme gives schools and the community an effective way of recognising and supporting local environmental action.

Thank you for taking the time to read Synergy. We hope it inspires you to become actively involved in working for a future where our planet's beauty, wildlife and life-giving water, air and soil are preserved for generations to come. We encourage you to join the cooperative effort of Schools For a Sustainable Future by subscribing to Synergy or by becoming an official SFSF Supporter. It's a small but critical step in bringing about a sustainable future.

Joe Natoli

Joseph Natoli
Project Director

Fiona Filshie

Fiona Filshie


What does it mean?
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LanternTHE ESSENCE OF SYNERGY is in the saying 'The whole is greater than the sum of its parts'.

When people or groups respect and understand each other and create a shared vision and agreed values then new solutions and better alternatives will be the result.

The new result is bigger, better and far more powerful than any of the individual components. The mutual agreement creates a new dimension to the situation - a third force if you like.

We believe that creating Synergy between the various sectors of our society will be the basis on which we can develop a Sustainable Future. We cannot see how the current philosophy of global competition which rewards a few winners at the cost of many losers is going to create a stable and sustainable future. That is why Schools For a Sustainable Future is attempting to develop the positive synergy's which can help our citizens use human resources, technology capital and our natural resources in a constructive rather than destructive way.


  1. Be proactive
  2. Begin with the end in mind
  3. Put first things first
  4. Think "win-win"
  5. Seek first to understand... then to be understood!
  6. Synergize
  7. Sharpen the saw

For further information on Synergy see Steven R Coveys book, "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People". The book has been a best seller for many years with its emphasis on character centred personal development.



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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


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