Be inspired to teach sustainability

New and inspiring ideas are available to encourage sustainability engagement in schools.

Guest speaker ideas for schools

Many different organisations can provide empowering guest speakers to present at your school.

For speakers in your area, try contacting your regional sustainability education network

Getting your kids into nature
Why are kids spending more time indoors and less time playing outside?

There are many reasons for this, including the move to higher density living and the attractions of computers and other technological devices.

The negative mental and physical health effects of this are well discussed in the media. Less well known is the research that shows that this situation will also mean that fewer children have a personal relationship with nature and, therefore, little desire to protect it.

Getting kids to play outside and explore is a simple solution. There are many benefits of outdoor time for kids and there are numerous ideas around of how you can make it happen.

Missing Trees - the Inside Story of an Outdoor Nation

Read NaturePlay WA's list of 50 Things to Do before You’re 12

Visit website for US-based Children in Nature Network

12 reasons why environment clubs are great for schools
Many schools now have environment or sustainability clubs where the students and schools benefit beyond sustainability.

An environment club:

  1. caters for students who may not like typical co-curricular activites such as sport, drama and chess.
  2. builds links between the school and the community, and potentially with other schools in the region
  3. raises students’ awareness and understanding of what is happening in the world, and builds sense of responsibility and citizenship
  4. gives students an opportunity to develop the following skills:
    • leadership
    • group work
    • public speaking
    • negotiation
    • decision making
    • fundraising
    • project planning and management
    • marketing
  5. has strong curriculum links especially to science and geography
  6. assists students to learn about other people’s perspectives
  7. helps students see that their actions matter which affirms a sense of power and resourcefulness
  8. reduces the environmental impact of the school, students/teachers and their families
  9. gives students who are lonely a chance to increase their self-esteem and forge friendships
  10. promotes the idea to prospective parents
  11. has potential to save money, for example, a sustainability audit of power usage can reveal unnecessary use.
  12. improve the appearance and liveability of the school grounds, which adds to comfort levels of both teachers and students

Check out our Environment club manual for high-school students

Ideas for engaging young people in climate change
For young people, climate change is fundamentally about the ‘here and now’. Describing the effects that climate change will have on future generations, as campaigners and scientists often do, undermines the urgency of the problem.

Climate Outreach and Information Network (COIN) has released ‘Young Voices’, a major new report looking at young people’s attitudes to climate change. Read full report on COIN's website

The Australian Youth Climate Coalition is Australia’s largest youth-run organisation, their mission is to build a movement of young people leading solutions to the climate crisis.