SFSF - Schools For a Sustainable Future
Joseph Natoli, SFSF Project Director, surrounded by happy, enthusiastic children
synergy vol 1 issue 2

Synergy Issue 2, Oct 1999

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Maroondah Joins International Greenhouse Program

Grade 5 students from Ringwood Nth P.S enjoying a rubbish free lunch.

The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) has developed the Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) program, which already has over 250 cities - representing over 120 million people - actively involved in the program world-wide. It is estimated that urban carbon dioxide emissions (CO²) in the 200 cities account for 8% of total global CO² emissions.

Maroondah City Council was approached to be one of the initial 30 councils leading the program in Australia. Currently 50 councils have enrolled in CCP.

The goal of the CCP campaignis is to help Local Government reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their own operations and in their communities, by increading energy efficiency and by developing creative transportation management, building policies, waste management and land-use strategies. The campaign also seeks to improve local air quality and urban livability.

Such benefits include reducing overall operating costs and enhancing the competitiveness of local firms, creating local jobs by supporting energy efficiency businesses, improving air quality, reducing pollutants that affect people's health and enhancing the livability and comfort of housing and urban neighbourhoods.

To fulfil CCP obligations, Council must achieve five key milestones:

  • Conducting an energy and emissions inventory for Council and for the community
  • Forecasting future energy use and emissions
  • Establishing an emissions reduction target
  • Developing a local action plan - a public program on how to meet targets
  • Implement agreed policies and measures

Council's progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions:

  • -Milestones 1 and 2 have been prepared in a 'best available' format, considering limited data availability and time involved in its gathering and analysis. Further training will assist with the attainment of Milestones 3 and 4.
  • In 1997, an environmental audit for 3 major Council buildings identified opportunities to reduce Council's CO² emissions by 245 tonnes and to save 160 mature eucalypts p.a. Steps to reduce emissions, involving, for example, reducing electricity, petrol and paper usage, have already begun (see Environmental Audit briefing note)
  • A group of staff (known as EMU - the Environmental Monitors Unit) are facilitating cultural and behavioural change within Council to help achieve goals identified in the audit (see Environmental Audit briefing note).
  • A joint launch of CCP program with Manningham City Council was held in October 1998 in order to stimulate business and community involement in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Council is also sponsoring greenhouse gas reduction programs in local schools, albeit in other guises!

Thanks in part to Council funding, 8 local schools

  • Bayswater North P.S
  • Luther College
  • Maroondah S.C
  • Mullum P.S
  • Norwood S.c
  • Ringwood Heights P.S
  • Ringwood North P.S
  • Ringwood S.C.

now have worm farms, whose inhabitants thrive on left over school lunches. Worms digest food scraps which would otherwise rot and produce methane gas. Methane is twenty times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Not only do worms prevent methane release, they produce a useful soil additive from their droppings (or castings).

Year 7 students at Ringwood Sec. College

In addition, Energy Efficiency Victoria has recently signed up Ringwood Heights Primary School as the first Victorian School to gain accreditation in the Energy Smart Schools Program.

Ringwood Heights has audited their energy consumption and are now implementing an energy management/energy efficiency program in their school buildings.



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Joe Natoli
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