The Young Australians Plan for the Planet panel: From l-r: Jo Duggan, Nicola Barker, presenter Chris Endry, Caitlin Figueiredo, Brittany Dahl, Alyssa Roggero, MaryClare Woodforde, and Edith Peters.

Putting sustainability in the hands of the next generation

26 August 2016

In 2016 the United Nations launched the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the framework to “end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.” Now, an SDG implementation program established through Crawford School and the Fenner School of Environment and Society at ANU will give Australia’s youth the opportunity to determine for themselves how the goals will be implemented in Australia.

The Young Australians Plan for the Planet program will involve senior high-school students from around Australia and provide them with the tools they need to develop regional sustainable development plans that will feed into a national plan out to 2050. The program will enable promotion and delivery of the SDGs throughout Australia utilising an innovative, national extra curricula schools program.

On Friday, 12 August 2016, the program was launched as part of the United Nations International Youth Day at Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre in Canberra. The launch featured a panel of engaged and enthusiastic young people taking questions from the audience on achieving sustainability in Australia and globally. The Plan for the Planet approach has been developed to leverage the effectiveness of business planning and management principles, as well as leadership and teamwork skills to achieve sustainable outcomes at local, regional and global levels.

The Young Australians Plan for the Planet program was conceptualised by an advisory team of organisations including Questacon, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Canberra, the Foundation for Young Australians, Inspiring Australia, and The Australian National University where Ian Cambers, the Program Director, is undertaking a PhD at Crawford School. The approach is based on the book Plan for the Planet; A business plan for a sustainable world co-authored by Chambers and John Humble, an international business consultant. The book provides a detailed road map for encouraging citizens at all levels “to become actively involved in addressing our global challenges,” and was conceived based on work the authors did with global corporations, government and community.

“The Young Australians Plan for the Planet is a way to promote, leverage and deliver the Sustainable Development Goals across Australia by utilising the energy, enthusiasm and ideas of Australia’s next generation of leaders,” said Chambers.

“The program puts Australian sustainability firmly in the hands of those who will be implementing and inheriting that future moving forward.”

The Australian pilot program will operate as an extra curricula program involving 20 schools across Australia. Each school will develop a sustainable development plan for their regional EcoZone to 2050 – 20 years beyond the targeted completion of the SDGs. The schools will then work to combine their individual EcoZone plans into a national sustainable development plan – the Young Australians Plan for the Planet – which will be presented to the Australian Prime Minister as part of Science Week in August 2017. Each school will select 12 students from Year 10 and three teachers to build their plan and will work with other schools to integrate these regional plans into the National Plan.

For more information, please visit the Young Australians Plan for the Planet web site

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