Green vision for the future

Vegetable gardens, solar panels and energy efficient schools are just some of the plans Latrobe Valley students have for a sustainable future.

The region’s secondary students came together last week to tackle the issues of climate change and sustainability as part of the Switched on Schools summit.

Organised by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, the forum was the first time many of the students had been asked “what do you want for your future?”

Switched on Schools national director Tom Reddington said it was important government considered student suggestions.

“Young people have such a critical stake in this issue because at the end of the day it’s their future, their climate and they will be inheriting the problems we have now,” Mr Reddington said.

“People aren’t listening to young people and their ideas, and they have such great ideas which we have been exploring.”

Environmental and activist groups spoke to students about their visions for the future before participants took it into their own hands to plan campaigns for their schools.

“It’s not just about preventing climate change; it’s about creating a sustainable environment and job opportunities,” Mr Reddington said.

“And what is exciting about young people is they have ideas of what they want their future to look like.”

Participants will now take their campaigns back to their schools in the hopes of implementing their proposals, which varied from vegetable gardens for sustainable food supply to solar panels and energy efficient light globes to minimise their carbon footprint.

“Students can be real drivers of change, especially in their schools, and by taking on the challenge to repower their school’s students in the Valley can drive sustainability initiatives like schools going solar,” Mr Reddington said.

The forum was held at Federation University on Thursday and Friday.