Setting Australia up for a sustainable future and educating the environmentalists and those who will make the green breakthroughs to come is starting at school level.
The Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSI) is a holistic approach to education for sustainability with measurable environmental, financial, educational and social outcomes.
The students learn by doing and the program involves the whole school community to reiterate the initiative.
Pilot programs were run in Victoria and NSW as pilots and it is now being introduced into schools across the nation and has been taken up by more than 2000 schools and 570,000 students.
The program links schools to other programs they may already have been participating in, such as Energy Smart Schools, WasteWise, Waterwatch, Waterwise, Landcare and the Reef Guardian Schools Program.
As well as giving students an early introduction to sustainable practices, schools have also reaped the benefits with up to 80 per cent reductions in waste, 60 per cent reduction in water consumption and savings on energy consumption of 20 per cent with associated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Schools are saving money and students have more pride in their schools and have a greater interest in learning.