Sustainability education in Australia:

Published: August 2nd, 2022

The good, the bad, and the online resources

Schools the world over are moving towards sustainability in all areas of learning, from holistic learning and wellbeing focus to climate change education. Education has the power to spread awareness of the issues that are affecting environments around the globe and inspires the youth to take action.

As Australia and the rest of the world look towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050, our teachers are leading the charge on tackling climate change through education and sustainable practices. But we still have room to grow…

Sustainability gains in education

Across Australia schools are making the effort to educate students on the importance of sustainability. From small, practical steps like eco-friendly classroom furniture and supplies, to more significant changes like schoolwide frameworks around sustainability or taking part in the hugely successful School Strike 4 Climate protests.

Advancements in edtech, such as the shift from projector-led digital whiteboards to Interactive Flat Panel Displays (IFPDs) like the ActivPanel, have also led to environmental gains in education. The batteries and light replacements required of IWBs are now a thing of the past with standalone IFPDs.

These devices also save on paper wastage, with their ability to display materials or run digital quizzes and assessments rather than printing them out. Tools like the ActivPanel also come with inbuilt lesson delivery software, reducing the need for instructional guidebooks for teachers or textbooks for students. 

Room to grow

In Australia, while sustainability education is considered a cross-curriculum priority, it is left to individual states to determine what exactly that entails. This means that there is a lack of consistency across the country when it comes to policies on teaching these topics, and often up to the heads of schools to decide if and how much sustainability education is included in lessons.

A 2017 report of conducted by Jennifer Nicholls at James Cook University found that while the Queensland teachers surveyed believe Education for Sustainability (EfS) is important, few believe they have the time or support for teaching EfS. Many of the teachers who did actively incorporate sustainability themes into their lessons had to rely on their own research and investigation for teaching resources.

Digital sustainability resources for your classroom

To help teachers in the important effort of including sustainability and climate change education into lesson plans, we’ve gathered some of our favourite online resources and hubs. 

  • The Australian Education for Sustainability Alliance – This alliance is comprised of many education and environmental-focused organisations that have united to aid in the teaching of environmental issues and sustainability in Australia. Their website has a portal with a growing list of valuable resources that teachers can use in planning lessons around conservation, climate change and environmentalism.
  • Sustainable Schools WA – Many state-run initiatives like Sustainable Schools WA support a whole-school approach to education for sustainability. Their website includes information to guide schools in creating a planning framework that focuses on increasing the knowledge, skills and understandings of education for sustainability within school communities.
  • Promethean Resource Library – Did you know there are a ton of great sustainability and climate change resources that you can access free through our Resource Library? Customisable flipcharts, videos, lesson plans and more designed by teachers, for teachers.

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