The Transition South Barwon and Transition East Geelong groups offer a ‘The Solution’ school program in third term 2014 which includes a range of ingredients, described below.
The school program initially links up local primary schools with two local Transition groups by introducing the students to the booklet ‘The Solution’ and helping them to make short film clips where the students present and explain about the schools’ sustainable solutions and ideas.
Key elements in the school program:
• The school borrows as many copies of the 36-page booklet ‘The Solution’ as there are students and teachers participating in the program. The books are to be reused as a class set and passed on to the next school when the project ends, except two booklets which are donated to the school library. (The booklet can be seen here: www.thesolution.org.au/booklet)
• During the project period, a meeting is organised between school students and teachers who are interested in this and a representative from Transition South Barwon (Doug Rolfe) and Transition East Geelong / The Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse (Mik Aidt).
• The schools are offered to produce content for a page on www.thesolution.org.au about what they are doing to be part of the solution, first of all in shape of a short video. The students produce the content and text.
• Three students are futhermore invited to participate in the radio program ‘The Sustainable Hour’ on 94.7 The Pulse, which is broadcasted live on air on Wednesdays between 11am and noon.
Other elements could be:
• Film screening for 5th-6th grade and high schools: ‘The Future of Energy’
• Music and shadow puppetry performance for 3rd to 6th grade: ‘Old Man Nanook’
• A multi-school Solution Film Grand Finale Gala with awards to student film production contest winners, and/or a ‘Solutions Day’ which brings ‘solutionators’ from various schools together near the end of the term.
Students could pick a specific song for the soundtrack of their videos, which they find on youtube.com, and which would in that case give them a time limit, or we can offer a variety of ‘open source’ music to suit. The clips produced will be uploaded to Youtube.com and they will be showcased on the transition groupsites and Facebook pages as well as The Sustainable Hour’s website and Facebook page and at www.thesolution.org.au.
• Developing a DVD with film/animation using the booklet ‘The Solution’ as inspiration for new stories, or directly using the text in the booklet as story line.
There is no cost or expenses to the school in the project as it is outlined here.
With the purpose to inspire schools to participate in the program, we are initially producing a couple of short ‘show and tell’ videos – ie. a student production – from Geelong schools about where the school is right now in terms of sustainability aspects. They are produced on smartphones / iPhones, and – when approved – uploaded to youtube.com as well as hosted at this website.
Overall aim of the program
The main goal with this program is to get students involved in issues around renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate change in a way that involves creating a selfmade media production, which is fun, relevant and meaningful to them, and in a way that encourages them to continue learning and exploring the field also when the project is over.
Another aim with the project is that this will provide a way to spread knowledge about which kind of sustainability-related programs and initiatives local primary schools in Geelong are involved in, as it is documented via online video and hardcopy DVD. Supported by a Future Proofing Geelong seeding grant, Transition South Barwon is in the process of identifying what ‘sustainability-related’ programs and initiatives local primary schools in Geelong are involved in, and documenting that via video to be shown online via www.thesolution.org.au as well as via DVD.
A third aim is to establish new contacts and opening a new flow of communication between schools and local sustainability-focused community groups who can be a resouce and of assistance in various ways. To connect passionate volunteers and skilled professionals from non-governmental organisations working in the field of sustainability, renewable energy and climate change with school teachers and students who could benefit from getting various input, ideas, inspiration, knowledge and examples from that end.
“Let’s make sustainability fun!”
Presentations about Cool Australia, Barwon South West ResourceSmart Schools, Sacred Heart Secondary College and Torquay Primary School
Visual extravaganza about climate change
‘Old Man Nanook’ by Geelong-based Three Masks Production is a piece of shadow puppetry with a climate change message: The last polar bear travels to the very end of the ice to discover why the ice is melting. It is aimed at primary school students, children aged 9-14.
The music and shadow puppetry show premiered on 5 April 2014 at the Courthouse Youth Arts Centre in Geelong, and was also part of Geelong After Dark on 9 May 2014.
It is performed and designed by local Geelong artists and commissioned by the Geelong Community Foundation.
Inspiration from United Kingdom
About how to get solar on the roof in your school
“Saltaire Primary School near Bradford recently installed a 23.76 kW solar system on its roof, paid for with a 0% loan from the local educational authority. This is now earning the school around £3,835 per year. Over the next 25 years Saltaire Primary expects their panels to generate a revenue of £80,000, or nearly 3 times the cost of the panels.”
» Read more on: www.foe.co.uk
» See also: www.foe.co.uk
Top tips for kick-starting solar
Obviously we are still in very early stages, but for anyone wanting to kick start a discussion on their school, key things I’ve learnt so far are:
• To convince people, it helps to focus on the financial benefits to the school as primary motivation, and educational value as second motivation. Of course it also helps if people understand the wider context of the climate crisis and the need for an energy transition – but it’s probably not essential;
• Someone needs to invest time to take the lead and/or find a team of people willing to do so. The staff might be very busy so it is good if there are also parents willing to commit some time;
• It’s important to be persistent – don’t give up easily – and address people’s concerns. Many obstacles may appear in the way, e.g. fears about previous attempts that have failed, and people worrying whether it is the best use of PSA money;
• It may help to team up with other local schools or nurseries, if possible, to exchange information as you go. We are doing this with our local nursery, where one parent has taken the lead on installing solar panels there, following discussions at the school (she has kids in both).