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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 13 Hansard (4 December) . . Page.. 3906..


Environment—climate change

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (6.02): Just last week, I had the privilege of attending the ACT sustainable schools tool kit launch at the Australian National Botanic Gardens. The ACT government, as we all know, is deeply concerned about the effects of climate change and the damage that it will have on this planet. It is for this reason that the ACT government is always looking at initiatives to further reduce the impact of climate change by reducing the amount of carbon gas that is emitted and by preserving our natural resources.

In order to help ACT schools to become more environmentally sustainable, a tool kit has been launched that will assist ACT schools with a transition from their reliance upon high-emitting carbon technology through the education of the students, staff and wider school community.

Following an initial trial of the program back in 2006, consultations were held with teachers and an easier step-by-step guide was established. This current guide focuses on sustainability in the management of water, waste, energy and biodiversity. In particular, it was concluded that teachers wanted to know how to involve the entire school in this process. As a result, this tool kit was established that will help to achieve this goal.

The tool kit is comprised of two elements that are broken up into two folders. The first folder, "Educating for sustainability through the ACT curriculum", is an education for sustainability teaching program designed for students from preschool to year 10. The second folder, "Your operational guide to becoming a sustainable school", is the hands-on, action-based component of the initiative. This folder outlines the sustainable practices schools can put in place to reduce their impact on the environment. These folders offer a best practices guide with a simple step-by-step process to reduce schools' ecological footprint through the careful management of water, waste, energy and biodiversity.

The waste best practice guide recognises that schools' purchasing practices can have a major influence on the amount of waste generated. This guide will encourage schools to recycle and to educate students about recycling. The importance of education is key to changing people's behavior, and that is emphasised in the water and energy best practice guide.

ACT government schools continually review their curriculum to get a clear picture of where education for sustainability is currently being addressed. A best practice guide for the curriculum will assists teachers to embed sustainability into the school curriculum. Worthwhile learning opportunities, such as waste-free lunch days, will be encouraged through these guides. Schools will also be encouraged to participate in national events such as National Water Week.

To ensure that everyone can actively participate in making the school more environmentally sustainable, the guide will identify professional development activities for the whole school community. This professional development is not just


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