Norwood Secondary College students in their
On a more pragmatic
note schools seem to focus on obtaining a high TER score to gain place
in university or "vocational skills" for that elusive job.
Of course developing other skills
in sport or artistic achievement are also encouraged.
Yet curiously few schools focus
on community issues that students may address either individually or
One argument is that
these are "political" issues and schools are for learning not politics.
And yet…. When students travel
through their science degree they will learn that our current actions
are systematically destroying the world they will inherit.
A cursory study of our newspapers
will uncover issues of environmental extinction and climate change on
a daily basis.
And the significant action taken
to address these issues? Very very little.
It's as if our leaders just won't
believe we really have a problem and attempt to ignore the problems
until something outrageous happens - when of course it is too late for
Norwood Secondary College
what can secondary students
(or teachers and parents )
do in the face of this situation?
Form an environment group
that can bring together the students who want to be part of hands on
environmental activity in your school.
This gives you a base
to start from.
Take some practical local environmental action. The
ones schools tend to like the most are recycling paper, cans etc and
being part of helping to clean up the school.
I can't think of a school that
is happy with how "tidy" the school grounds are. Having
the courage to start these activities will make a difference to your
Display from Footscray City College at
SFSF Presentation Day
3) Ask your school
to recognise environmental activity
in the same ways it promotes sport and other achievements. This
can mean offering teacher support, having a budget, giving you a space
in newsletters, having awards. It
should be a significant part of the schools educational role.
Oakleigh South Primary School display
4) Learn about
the issues of sustainability. See
if you can create an opportunity in your studies to do a project on
salinity in Australian soils, climate change and its consequences
or other environmental issues.
Glendal P.S students
5) Take what you learn to the community.
What does your local MP know of environmental issues? How aware is your
local Rotary Club ? One of the strongest impressions you can make is
developing an interesting, articulate and clearly written story to these
people and asking for their feedback.
Send them a copy,
make an appointment to see them and then see what their reactions are.
(This would make a great Issues project for VCE…) And don't forget to
include your story in the school newsletter for your parents.
See if you can encourage your school to actively develop environmental
projects on the school grounds or in your local community.
Projects that restore the natural
habitat, reduce energy or water consumption, help students learn at
first hand about the environment should receive careful thought from
progressive Principals and School Councils.
You might even find that the
Rotary club you went to visit will be interested in offering practical
support for your efforts.
Lakewood Reserve at Knox Park
7) Join the SFSF
network. We can promote
your activities on our website at Presentation Days and through Synergy.
The SFSF billboard (below) is
also a powerful way of promoting the commitment your school has to
a sustainable future. It's also a great way of recognising the support
you gain from those Rotarians you have convinced to support your project!)
Make contacts with other school environment groups. It is always
heartening to have support from likeminded groups. You get fresh ideas
and can create a stronger, united voice in the community.
One such group is being organised
by Peter Cook from Boronia Heights Sec. College. Ph (03) 9762-4044.
The Victorian Association of
Environmental Education (VAEE) is another resource which can help
you make contacts and set up your group. Ph (03) 9428-9812.
Ecoecycle Waste Wise program and Monash
Council's Waste Education programs at 1998 SFSF Presentation Day.