Twenty six students from 12 Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta secondary schools recently met for the first time to form a dynamic new Student Sustainability Council. This exciting opportunity will support students in putting their faith into action.
Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP) Teaching Educator Mission Andrew Wilson said the passionate group of young leaders included students who had attended rallies about climate change and those who are active in local environmentally aware groups.
“Our goal for students in the Sustainability Council is to encourage them to become strong advocates formed by Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si,’’ Mr Wilson said.
Special guests at the first meeting included: Catholic Earthcare representative Sue Martin, Sydney Water representative Liz Minor and Foment Collective Director Scott Hearne. Foment Collective is an organisation aimed at helping support the transformation of people, places, projects and partnerships.
St John Paul II Catholic College Year 12 student Madelyne Leite said she was keen to be part of the Student Sustainability Council after attending a few climate rallies. Madelyne is curious about the use of water in schools and how it can be made more sustainable.
“When we were looking at the use of water in schools, I found out we are using about 12L of water per day per student. I think one way we could reduce that is by simply paying more attention to leaking taps, which could see a reduction of at least 4L,’’ Madelyne said.
At a local level, Bede Polding College Year 12 student Cain Anderson is very passionate about bushland regeneration. “Being a part of the Student Sustainability Council will mean I can get to know other like-minded people. I am also keen to get some help and ideas from other people with regards to bush regeneration which I can use this year and into the future,’’ Cain said.
A topical discussion during the first gathering of the Student Sustainability Council included multiple ways that school communities can be more aware of how they manage waste into landfill, recycling and organics. They heard about communities that have committed to banning plastics and were introduced to the concept of a circular economy which shows how governments are creating revenue streams through upcycling and reusing products.
However, based on a student’s passion the subject of plant based meats was discussed. Students heard about the production of plant based meats including common ingredients. They also learnt most plant based meats are higher in sodium and similar to real meat in terms of calories, but have more fibre and less cholesterol.
CEDP’s Student Sustainability Council’s next meeting will be held in Term 2 and will focus on the planning and preparation for CEDP’s 2020 Renewal Week.
The schools represented at the Student Sustainability Council are: Marian Catholic College Kenthurst, Penola Catholic College Emu Plains, St Andrews Catholic College Marayong, Caroline Chisholm College Glenmore Park, Gilroy Catholic College Castle Hill, St John Paul II Catholic College Schofields and Nirimba, Emmaus Catholic College Kemps Creek, St Agnes Catholic High School Rooty Hill, Nagle College Blacktown, Cerdon College Merrylands, Bede Polding College Windsor and St Mark’s Catholic College Stanhope Gardens.
With thanks to Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta.