CERES Education Interview with Mark Smith
Director, Planet Savers
1. How did you first get started with environmental education?
I was introduced to Eric Bottomley by the Mornington Peninsula Shire after flagging an idea to audit schools and source funding for them to do it. A gentlemen by the name of Rolf Freeman suggested I include an education component to my plans for the schools. That was in 2001.
2. What have been the biggest highlights of your journey so far?
Being a founding member of the original pilot programs (Sustainable Schools, Carbon Sink Schools, and ZeroWaste) that have formed the basis of what is now the ResourceSmart Schools initiative.
3. What has been the biggest obstacle? How did you/are you overcoming it?
Our biggest obstacle was and is funding for the schools to take up and continue sustainable education. State Government has provided the bulk of funding and we have continually lobbied local governments to contribute.
4. What future plans or goals are you excited about?
I am excited by the calibre of student leaders we work with and the passion and enthusiasm they bring to the programs. The future is bright when I see the kids coming through.
5. What advice would you offer to someone wanting to begin a sustainability program at their school or organisation?
Don’t believe that you have to do it all. Your passionate and committed. You wouldn’t be taking on all this extra work if you weren’t. Find as many allies as you can in parents, teachers but most importantly your students. Have your student team take responsibility for the actions that are going make your school sustainable.
CERES Education would like to thank Mark for sharing his story.
Mark has also written an article ‘Turning on the Tide‘ about encouraging and giving students the responsibility of saving energy in schools. The article also lists Mark’s Top 12 Energy Management Actions.
For more information, visit Planet Savers’ Sustainability Hub blog page.