Lorne P-12 College principal Shane Elevato at one of the schools he visited in Bhutan.

Lorne P-12 College adopt “green-minded” approach

June 25, 2020 BY

LORNE P-12 College principal Shane Elevato is looking to instil a “green-minded” philosophy in the school following his recent journey to southern Asia.

Earlier in the year, Mr Elevato travelled to a handful of schools in Bhutan courtesy of a scholarship awarded to him by the Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals. The journey aimed to help him learn more about the country’s “Green Schools for Green Bhutan” philosophy, and how some of its ideas could be applied back home.

Bhutan only allows visitors through government-recognised agencies, but Mr Elevato said the people he met were welcoming and eager to share their insights.

“When I was at the schools, it was fantastic. The principals were so happy to have that interest from somebody from Australia. They don’t get a lot of visitors, so they were really keen to talk to me.

“I managed to visit two primary schools, one secondary school and two monastery schools, which was really interesting as well. It was quite a diverse group of schools. Some were country schools, way up in the Himalayas, some were more urban schools.”

Mr Elevato earned the scholarship for research he had done into schools adopting an approach of “green-mindedness”, and said the journey expanded his understanding of the concept.

“I sort of went there expecting to see examples of really obvious environmental and sustainability ideas and curriculum, but what I found was their understanding of ‘green mindedness’ is incredible.

“So it’s more than just curriculum, it’s a real mindset that they try to instil in their young people.”

Lorne P-12 College will now be looking to gradually adopt a more green-minded approach.

Mr Elevato said this will involve changing from how they operate their facilities to how they educate their students.

“We’re really lucky here in Lorne. We have a beautiful environment, nestled in the Otways right on the coast with beautiful big trees. So, moving forward what we want to do is begin to look at everything from power consumption to and how we can perhaps leverage some solar to move more towards renewables.

“There are very practical things we’re looking like we’re going to kick off an indigenous plant nursery on the school site and link that to our science curriculum. More than just indigenous plants and native plants, we’re looking at species that are endemic to the Otways.”

Mr Elevato believes this approach will ensure their students are well-equipped for the future.

“Looking forward, it’s about preparing kids for future industries, and I think it’s pretty clear renewables is a future industry. The traditional manufacturing around the Geelong and Surf Coast region is changing.

“There’s going to be new industries emerging that are definitely going to be trying to grapple with what is the biggest question I think that generations coming through school now are going to have to face, and that is, how are they going to solve the environmental issues that are facing the planet, and acknowledging that their not the generation that has caused the problem in the first place, but they’re going to have to do something about it.

“So I feel the schools have a really important role to play in equipping young people with the skills and the mindset to not feel negative about that, or not feel defeatist, but feel empowered to be able to step up and solve that really pressing issue.”