Imagine if our School community could make a real difference to the environment, and we could repair some of the environmental damage humans have created over the years? Imagine if the wider Hillbrook community got caught up in the momentum and made changes to their life as well?

What a wonderful world we could leave behind for the generations to follow.

Now imagine if Hillbrook could be a carbon neutral school by 2021. We are up for the challenge and it’s going to require a community effort. Are you in?

We owe it to the Traditional Custodians of our land, and the generations to come after us, to leave this land better than we found it.

We can minimise our ecological and environmental impact and restore as much balance as we can by changing our habits. As a community we are working hard to achieve this and our major achievements to date are:

  • 40%of our annual energy use is renewable with 160KW of solar panels currently installed and another 132KW coming later this year.
  • In June this year we finally exported energy back into the grid during school hours. This is a big achievement.
  • All food made and packaged onsite is fully compostable (including packaging) and remaining items are 95% recyclable. We aiming for 100% by 2020.
  • Waste segmentation bins and regular bin audits conducted by students.
  • We have worm farms, native bee hives and are a registered wildlife sanctuary.
  • Water tanks for gardens and amenities are installed around the school with 105,000 litre capacity.
  • Two thirds of the school has LED lighting and this will ultimately be 100%as we replace older lights.
  • A Smart Energy Management system is being installed to control air conditioning and energy usage for new buildings.

Our students and staff are involved in many environmental initiatives and we have an active Environmental Club headed by Year 7 Teacher, Ginnese Johnston. One of these students is Ella Zeeman (Year 8) who is passionate about the planet. Ella provides a weekly article for the newsletter about living your best sustainable life and provides thought provoking facts such as these:

  • One million plastic bags are used per minute worldwide – that’s 10 BILLION bags per week.
  • The average plastic bag is used for 12 minutes (unless reused).
  • It takes 500+ years for a plastic bag to degrade in landfill.
  • The current rate of deforestation is equal to the loss of 20 football fields every minute.
  • Synthetic materials never degrade.

Here are some of Ella’s top tips from recent Newsletters that we can all do right now and make a real difference:

  • Plant more trees.
  • Recycle and re-use.
  • Always say NO when offered a plastic bag.
  • Say NO to single use plastics and please stop using cling wrap – use wax wraps or containers.
  • Don’t litter.
  • Wear natural fibres whenever possible.
  • Spread the word about being sustainable – talk to your family and friends. Teach them. Hillbrook has always been, and always will be, conscious of our ecological footprint and we are working hard to make sure the choices made by staff and students have environmentally friendly consequences.

“There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere.”