Building a Sustainable Culture

Building a Sustainable Culture

Friday 28 June

We all share the responsibility of sustainability.

Throughout the semester I have seen our girls make conscious decisions that ensure that future generations are not compromised in having their needs met, by our actions. Our girls are passionate about caring for and respecting our environment. Using their voices, our girls have regularly shared messages at assemblies of the high levels of our resource consumption and the importance of reducing unnecessary waste. Our Junior School Environment Official and members of our Senior School Environmental Committee are leading the way with strong messages in our assemblies helping us all to become more environmentally aware.

As a school and as parents, it is important for us to role model and lead the way in creating a culture of sustainable behaviours. I was reminded of this the other morning when a very generous St Hilda’s parent presented me with a brand new Keep Cup as I was welcoming the girls to school with a take-away coffee from a local cafe. I graciously accepted the gift, feeling rather guilty that I had not been more proactive in my choice of early morning coffee cups. In Australia alone, 2,700,000 paper coffee cups are thrown out every day and disposable coffee cups can no longer be recycled, so these all go directly to landfill. The important message from my morning gift exchange was that if our parents notice these small things, so do our girls. Since that morning I have been more mindful (and organised) when ordering my morning cup of coffee. It’s a simple choice I can choose to make each day.

Our girls are leading a number of environmentally friendly initiatives including:- battery recycling, waste free lunches, developing a sustainability garden, making beeswax wraps for school lunches, leading a plastic free projects, running workshops for fabric bag making, supporting the Greenbatch project (recycling plastic bottles) and volunteering for Clean Up Australia Day.

Our ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability is evident through the installation of a geothermal bore which heats both our swimming pool and Performing Arts Centre. The environmentally friendly designs considered in our new builds and the utilisation of green technologies and design principles incorporated by our School Architects, supports this philosophy.

We are committed to providing both our Chidley and Bayview Campus with major solar power infrastructure. A key part of our ongoing commitment to enable further expansion of the solar system is to allow our school to incorporate batteries and optimise solar power production, eventually exporting onto the grid in the future. Our large commercial solar initiative is a natural extension of St Hilda’s long-term commitment to environmental sustainability and our desire to be a demonstrator of leading practice for our school community. As well as being a smart infrastructure investment, a large solar power system provides a key learning tool for our students about the way renewable energy solutions can be embraced.

Ultimately, the intangible benefits of our commitment to sustainability will emerge from the deeper understanding and active participation demonstrated by our girls in developing their own sustainable futures as young women.