Putting sustainable development in the hands of school students

12 August 2016

Senior high-school students from around Australia will help develop regional sustainable development plans that will feed into a national plan out to 2050, under a new program to be launched in Canberra on Friday 12 August.

The pilot Young Australians Plan for the Planet program will involve year-10 and year-11 students from 20 schools across Australia.

Over the next 12 months the students will develop a sustainable development plan for their regional EcoZones, and then together build a national sustainability plan for Australia out to the year 2050.

Program Director Ian Chambers from The Australian National University (ANU) said the regional plans would be integrated into a national Young Australians Plan for the Planet, which will be presented to the Prime Minister as part of Science Week in August 2017.

"In 2016 the United Nations launched the Sustainable Development Goals as the framework to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all," said Mr Chambers from the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy.

"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.

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

The program will be launched at Questacon in Canberra on Friday, as part of the United Nations International Youth Day.

The program includes support from Questacon, Future Earth Australia, the Foundation for Young Australians, Inspiring Australia, ANU, the University of New South Wales (UNSW), University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and the United Nations Information Centre, Canberra.

The launch, from 5pm at Questacon, includes a Q&A panel with young people, hosted by the ABC's Lish Fejer, on achieving sustainability in Australia and globally.