Our Green Gurus

Guest bloggers share all you need to know to lead a greener lifestyle.

Teachers for change

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Several Indonesian and Indian teachers at a school visit to Merri Creek Primary school in Melbourne. This visit was part of the Australian Conservation Foundation's Skillshare program.

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By guest blogger Andy Best, Climate Leader, School Principal of Harrington Park Primary School in NSW, and workshop facilitator and the Climate Educators’ Skillshare.

I just spent two days with 23 teachers from Indian and Indonesia who are in town for the first ever Climate Educators’ Skillshare, an initiative organised by The Climate Reality Project here at the Australian Conservation Foundation. It’s funny, the visiting teachers were all really keen to hear what we are doing… but I was really keen to hear what they are doing!

I am a school principal, and an Al Gore trained Climate Leader, and I have been teaching primary school aged kids for 30 years.

My primary school students reduced our school’s energy and waste bill by $10,000. Some schools may not be interested in sustainability but they are interested in saving money and they are also interesting in significant education programs that have relevance to children.

As an educator myself, I feel I’m in a very privileged position. We really do get to touch the future, and I am inspired by the late author/educator Neil Postman who says ‘our children are the messages we send to the future that we will never see', and I really want that message to be that ‘we cared.’

So this Skillshare was a great avenue to present sustainability as a topic to provide authentic learning for kids. I think that is really important - because it’s all about empowering students as they deal with the mess we have made of the planet. We have got to give kids a way to help fix that. My hope lies in the hands of my students, this next generation coming thorough.

Teachers are in a great position to present the message of sustainability and efficiency. I’m a strong believer in pester power. Just the other day a parent stopped me and said ‘we are only allowed to have one light on last night because of you!’, and that made me very proud that the kids are listening and acting.

I know now from my time at the Skillshare that teachers in the Asia Pacific region have great power, that we are not working in isolation, there are like-minded people – not just in their own schools or countries - but right around the world. I think that interconnectedness will lead to greater interdependency as educators and also as a species.

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For our feature on the increasing popularity of green-themed schools, check out the current June/July issue of Green Lifestyle magazine.