2014/15 Green Lane Diary

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Shelly, the Western Swamp Tortoise I’m only tiny – about 15cm long – but I make up for it in age! I usually live for about 60 years.

Shane, the Grey Nurse Shark I’ve had a bit of bad press over the years – people hunted me because they thought I was a man-eater.

Fabio, the Southern Corroboree Frog Even before the Days of the Dreaming, I was known to be fabulous!

JT, the Tassie Devil 400-year-old fossils show that my great great grandparents used to live on the mainland of Australia.

Wazza, the Northern Hairy Nosed Wombat I’m actually bigger than you think – almost 1 metre long – and my wife carries around my kids in a backward facing pouch.

Kylie, the Southern Cassowary Once my children leave the nest, I prefer to live alone and use my three toes to dig for insects and seeds.

Wendi, the Woylie I’m a bit of a night owl, I sleep during the day and spend the night hours looking for food.

THANK YOU SUPPORTERS: Green Cross Japan, Australian Diary Advisory Group, CSIRO, UNESCO, QLD Department of Education, Training and Employment GREEN CROSS AUSTRALIA: Bec, Beth, Courtney, Mara, Miranda ILLUSTRATOR: Michelle Draycott/The Illustrators Agency.com

DESIGN: Emily Curtis & Margaret Lipinska/ Zeroseven PRINTER: Webstar GREEN LANE DIARY PAPER: Cover PEFC certified 104gsm matt, Inside pages & scrapbook – 100% recycled Charisma Silk. Copyright © Green Cross Australia 2014

DISCLAIMER: Every effort has been made to acknowledge the source of all contributions to this diary and Green Cross Australia apologises for any inadvertent omissions. Green Cross Australia does not accept any liability for any loss or damage arising from any errors omissions or inaccuracies in the information in this Diary or the associated website www.greenlanediary.org


INSIDE YOUR DIARY Our world today


Getting started


Green Lane Clean Up


What’s the story


Start your project


Energy everywhere


Our place


A greener life


Wonderful water


The 6Rs


On Alert


Citizens – it’s up to us


Biodiversity 26 Destination clean and green


I’m really excited about the 2014/15 Green Lane Diary! Use it to learn about what is going on with our incredible environment. Don’t let environmental problems get you down, remember, there’s no such thing as rubbish, only resources! Challenge yourself to make a positive difference at home, at school and in your community. Write down what you’re doing in your scrapbook and then share your actions on the website to inspire other kids. I might even see you at the 2014 Green Lane Diary Awards! I can’t wait to see what practical ways you’re each making a difference, because what you do, really matters. Costa Georgiadis

Competition 31


h o ic es e a n d th e c liv u o y y a w t th e TH IN K: a bo u s u sta in a bly. e r o m e liv k e to yo u c a n m a vo lve d in s a n d g et in p te s ll a m s u r hoo d ACT: ta k e o u r n e ig h bo y l, o o h c s r ou proje cts in y m m u n it y. a n d yo u r c o e rs . e a s wit h o th id r u o y : E R e bette r b y SHA th r o f t n e m r e nviro n C H A N G E: o u o luti o n s. ble m s a n d s o r p t u o b a le a r n in g _________ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ ____ N a m e : ____ _________ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ : __ Sig n atu re _________ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Date: ____ ATS



rowin g . m ill io n a n d g 2 2 : N IO T A PO PU L n d , A u stra lia ’s la rg est is la ld r o w e th tres. S IZE: As u a re kilo m e q s 3 ,9 17 ,6 7 or d u c e 93% stre tc h es f n f a r m s p ro lia a tr s u A : S FARM FAB U LO U S pp ly. sti c f o o d s u e m o d ily a d of o ur

The planet is like a giant web and everything connects. It means the way we live impacts on our environment and other people. There are lots of problems to learn about. At first you might feel helpless, but we can each do something to help and this diary is full of ideas. Let’s start by investigating the issues.

WISE WORDS “If you think you are too small to make a difference, you have never been in bed with a mosquito!” Anita Roddick



Biodiversity Erosion Climate


Keeping a diary is a terrific way to keep track of your achievements and express your feelings and ideas. Use the Green Lane Diary to talk about how you are living a greener life, to track your own research project or to keep your class project going. It’s easy !


WHAT TO DO 1. LEARN about what’s going on – read your booklet and EXPLORE the website.

Get online and explore !


2. WRITE in your scrapbook each day. 3. START a project yourself, with friends or your class. 4. SHARE what you are doing on our website. 5. ENTER the competition and WIN to be a Green Lane Hero.

Look out for Wazza and his endangered friends, they have tips to help you!


Go online to read their stories.

• Explain what you have done to help the planet. • Write what you have learnt today. • Keep notes on something you are interested in (how your veggie patch is growing or your project to help bilbies).

Organise a fun project with your friends

Check with your parents or teachers

Share your ideas and progress. Email us info@greencrossaustralia.org

TIPS TO HELP YOU ! • Make time to write in your diary every day. • Make your diary colourful, add stickers and drawings. • Share what you are doing with your friends and family. • Look for the weekly challenge questions.


ANGUS MCMAHON Albuera St Primary, TAS Angus goes the extra mile for the planet. Passionate about sustainability, he has helped teach students and teachers about growing a community garden and saving energy. He is a consistent role model for others keeping the compost and recycling systems working. Angus walks the talk!

In 2014 Green Cross Australia is leading a huge waste pick up across Queensland and we want your school to get involved – its not too late! We will provide you all you need to go out into your community, and make a lasting impact. You’ll be helping marine life, our waterways and more. If you participate in the Green Lane Clean Up and are also involved in other green activities, you will become eligible for your first star through Keep Queensland Beautiful’s program Cleaner Greener Schools! What you’ll need to do is hold two clean ups at the same location over 2014. The clean up needs to happen in a place that is important to your community, not in the school grounds. Working with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Keep Queensland Beautiful and Tangaroa Blue to facilitate this huge waste pick up.


Provide a detailed ‘How to run a Clean Up’ plan, including safety information to minimise any risks to participants.

A Waste Collection kit (including collection materials and data collection sheets).

We will link you with local environment or community groups to assist and offer expertise.

At the moment, we have only been funded to support Queensland schools - but that doesn’t mean you can’t facilitate your own waste pick up! Use our resources to help, email us for a copy info@greencrossaustralia.org


EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED Planet Earth is an amazing place with the capacity to sustain the lives of millions of species. Some of these species are still a mystery to us – they’re waiting to be discovered by keen scientists like yourself! There is one thing that is definitely NOT a mystery to us anymore – everything on Earth is interconnected. It’s like we’re all joined together by invisible threads, just like a spider’s web. There is a special Indigenous Australian word to describe this connection - Kanyini. It means taking responsibility and caring for all things.

With more and more of us sharing this precious place we need to find ways of preserving it. Don’t forget that YOU can make a difference – start asking questions and inspire your friends and family to make small steps in the right direction. SIMPLE IDEAS ARE OFTEN THE BEST!

2014/15, INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF FAMILY FARMING Do you know where your food comes from? Do you take it for granted? We need food to survive – we can’t always grow everything we eat but why not try growing leafy greens and herbs? If you can, visit a farm with your family or maybe you are lucky enough to live on a farm. Share your story with us online!

ONLY A FEW DEGREES Data collected over the years has shown a gradual increase in temperatures and even though the change is less than 10 degrees Celsius since 1950, the impact on our planet’s ecosystems is far from tiny. Rising temperatures and changing patterns of rainfall will not only impact on people, but also on plants and animals. Some habitats may be affected, such as the icy homes of polar bears and penguins.


7 BILLION AND COUNTING Have you ever calculated your ‘Ecological Footprint’? It’s a way to calculate how many resources you need to live your current lifestyle. After adding up things you use, such as the food you eat, fuel to get to school, and energy to power your home, the end result could be anything from 2 to 7 planets worth of resources! The problem is WE ONLY HAVE ONE PLANET and we need to make sure to use its resources in a sustainable way. Some people in the world live really well – and their Ecological Footprint is very small. Think about the changes you could make to help ‘even out’ the balance of resources used across the planet.

AGEL KOWAN St Brendan’s Primary, Moorooka Start a Green Lane Diary blog for your school – a place to post photos, ideas, articles and videos to help your classmates live green.

Agel showed exemplary individual action in her daily life keeping a detailed record in her Green Lane Diary, researching areas of interest and trying to change her family’s behaviour. Her practical ideas shared in her diary show that everyone can make a little difference every day.

How are environmental problems connected ? Which ones impact your community ? Make a list of project ideas for your class.

Diary comes from the Latin word dies, meaning ‘days’ as traditionally entries are written every day.



Brainstorm project ideas with your friends. Decide on a project.


Make a project plan – list what you need to do. Book a meeting with your principal to share your ideas and ask how he or she can help. Turn your plan into actions – start work and try to get more people involved. Record what you do – take photos and videos and write about your project in your Green Lane Diary. Share your success stories with your friends, teachers and family.


Here are some project ideas to get you thinking : • Be a detective and take photos of plants and animals living around you. Make a brochure informing your community about them and how they can take care of them. • Start up a Worm Café and collect compost and food scraps from the school canteen and children’s lunches. • Create a rap or song teaching kids how to say ‘No’ to plastic.

CONNECT WITH LOCAL COMMUNITY GROUPS ! You will be amazed how many people are working behind the scenes in your local community. Catchment groups, Lions Clubs, Apex, Landcare, Zonta, St Vincent de Paul, Police Youth Citizens Clubs, Rotary, Scouts and Girl Guides are jam-packed with enthusiastic and skilful people. They may have great advice to help get your project started! Ask your teacher to help you get in contact with these people. Green Cross Australia can help you too !


SARAH COSTANZO & LAURA GOODING St Joseph’s Primary, Corinda Two creative and enterprising students thinking outside the square for the planet! As an extra project, the girls recycled materials to make a range of items, including jewellery. They sold these cool handmade items to raise money for Algalita Marine Research Institute and to raise awareness in their school community about the importance of marine research.

OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY, KENMORE The wonderful students in Louise Erbachers class have really got the message of the Green Lane Diary. It’s become second nature to switch off appliances and lights and they’ve reduced plastic use by bringing their lunch in reusable containers. The students also wrote letters to the P&F association and Principal to set up a Nude Food System across the school. Class 4K also hold the record number of days for saving energy, recycling and actively travelling to school! Well done class!

PORTSIDE CHRISTIAN COLLEGE, SA Looking after the planet is something that students at Portside Christian College take very seriously. Everything from re-vegetation projects, recycling batteries and ring pulls, collecting postage stamps to sell for aid projects, collecting old glasses and hosting conferences for students. There are big plans for vertical gardens, food acquaponics and hosting sessions to help families live green.

CLAYTON NORTH PRIMARY SCHOOL, VIC The students have been leading by example being involved in an incredible number of projects this year. The Student Green Team has held Earth Hour, sold produce from their garden and given tours to others to teach them about it. The new indigenous garden has been a great success. Students from each year level have run their own projects including the year 3/4s who ran a pedal power disco.

ST BRENDAN’S PRIMARY, QLD These amazing students in Mrs Crawford’s class have spent the term keeping their diary and leading the way to show others that living green is easy. Every student’s diary was jammed packed with amazing ideas, personal insights and practical solutions that they tried to live each day.





Imagine how different our lives would be without energy. Did you know that the energy from your power point comes from different sources? Energy can be ‘renewable’ or ‘non-renewable’. Non-renewable sources are materials buried in the ground such as coal, gas and oil (also called ‘fossil fuels’). Fossil fuels are formed from plants and animals that lived millions of years ago. Most of the energy we use today is generated through the burning of fossil fuels. It’s pretty reliable and cheap, but releases greenhouse gases and pollution into our air. Another downside is that once all fossil fuels from the ground are used up, they are gone. It takes millions of years for the fuel to form. Renewable energy can be made from the sun (solar), rivers and oceans (hydro),


wind, plants (biomass) and our planet’s hot centre (geothermal) sources – which will never run out. This renewable, green energy releases fewer greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It already provides around 16% of global energy supply. Exploring more renewable energy ideas will help move to a cleaner energy future.

Research how solar can help those living in poverty – Pollinate from NSW and their work in India is a great place to start!

DON’T FORGET THE NINE BILLION... Some countries around the world use HEAPS of energy per person, while others survive on little or no electricity at all. When we go camping or when there’s a blackout, we manage to survive. But for many people in the world, living without power is a part of everyday life.


FIVE SOURCES OF RENEWABLE ENERGY 1. SOLAR POWER: The sun shines on “photovoltaic” or “PV” panels which produce an electric current. Batteries are used to store energy for use at night. In another method curved mirrors are used to concentrate sunlight to heat up water and produce steam that can power a generator. 2. WIND POWER: Wind pushes the blades of wind turbines and makes them spin. The rotation of the blades generates electricity. 3. HYDRO-ELECTRIC POWER: Water movement from rivers and ocean waves pushes giant turbines. The rotation of the turbines creates electrical energy.

Fossil fuels 81%

4. GEOTHERMAL POWER: Underground heat from the centre of our planet can be used directly to heat buildings or can be used to create steam to push turbines and create electricity. 5. BIOMASS POWER: Plants and rubbish are burnt to heat up water and create steam that can push turbines. In another method, plants are converted into biofuels such as methane or ethanol. Wind/solar/biomass/geothermal power generation 0.7% Biofuels 0.6% Biomass/solar/geothermal hot water/heating 1.5%

Renewables 16.2%

Hydropower 3.4% Traditional biomass 10%

Nuclear 2.8%

What can you do at home and at school to save energy? Research how an electric car works. Can you make a model and share it with your family and friends?

Start a Power Rangers group to lead the way.


Australia is the oldest land mass in the world. Over the years, our country has seen many different types of plants, animals and people.

Australia has an amazing mix of landforms: rainforests, deserts, mountains, coral reefs, beaches and bushland - making it possible for more than 600,000 animal species and 18,500 plant species to survive. Our Big Backyard is also home to more than 22 million people from over 200 different countries. Of the people, Indigenous Australians have been here the longest. For more than 40,000 years, Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders have practiced Kanyini by caring for our land and passing on their wisdom to each generation.

Landmarks are part of nature. Attractions are often man-made. Make a list of each.


Mildura West Primary School, VIC This school has been busy running a Walking Bus to reduce car traffic, creating stickers to help kids recycle and writing Bird Fact Files to promote local species. Their Rubbish Free Trophy is hotly contested by all classes each week


Resources Boom

World Heritage List Salinity Indigenous Elders

Murray Darling Basin


Invasive Species


Land Clearing

DEEPER UNDERGROUND As well as being lucky enough to have some of the most incredible places, people, plants and animals on the planet, Australia is also rich with natural resources such as coal, uranium and iron ore. As we know, there are always two sides to the story and there are some positive benefits to mining our natural resources, but we also need to consider the impact on our environment and the health of our people.


Learn about the local traditional owners. Research bush tucker and make a poster of the plants in your area.

Special Places Tourism is an important industry in Australia. Each year we welcome millions of visitors to see our precious places, such as Kakadu, Fraser Island and the Blue Mountains. All of these and more are on the World Heritage List. This means they are important ecosystems and worth conserving for everyone to enjoy forever.

LOCATE IT ! • Learn about world heritage sites using the online map whc.unesco.org/en/list • Find the closest national park to your house using Google Earth. Plan a trip with your family. • Locate our resources. Mark the gas, oil and coal deposits for each state on a map.


Every day we make choices about how we live. These little choices have an impact on our environment and others around us.




TRAVEL SMART: catch public transport, walk, ride your bike or carpool with your neighbours. WASTE NOT: collect lunch scraps for a worm farm or compost bin. RE-USE, RECYCLE: use only what you need, reuse materials for craft work and recycle. JOIN UP: start an environmental group and make an action plan for bigger projects.

There are over 46 000 pieces of plastic floating in each square mile of our oceans. www.cleanup.org


WATER WATCH: turn off the tap when you’re not using it. EAT HEALTHY: take fresh fruit and homemade goodies for lunch in reusable containers instead of snacks in separate packaging. BLOG IT: make a blog and share your Simple Steps with others to show it easy it can be to make a difference!

FAIR TRADE In some countries around the world, farmers are paid a very small amount of money to produce goods but there is a HUGE profit margin when the goods are sold around the world. The FAIR TRADE logo ensures that the people who made the product receive a decent wage and fair working conditions. www.fairtrade.com.au



GROW YOUR OWN: start your own veggie patch, herb garden or chicken coop – you’ll have fresh vegetables, herbs and organic, free-range eggs in no time! BUY LOCAL: go to the local farm or markets to buy your fruit, vegetables, meat and bread.

UNPLUG FOR A WHILE Everyone these days seems to have a Nintendo, an iPod or an Xbox but electronic games are only a recent invention. Before that - believe it or not - kids had fun without electronic gadgets! How did they survive? They spent time outside, building cubbies, exploring, playing games and sports and learning more about the world around them. Being outdoors keeps us strong and healthy and teaches us how our bodies work – especially when we’re climbing trees!

NO PLASTIC BAGS: take your own bags and say NO to plastic bags. GOOD NEIGHBOURS: share the harvest from your veggie patch, car-pool to school, or just enjoy each other’s company with a backyard BBQ!

Grow your own food. Try planting some herbs and veggies in a pot and start your own garden. It’s fun and you can have your own lettuce in your sandwiches at school!

When we play in nature, we learn about plants and animals and learn what it feels like to be connected with our planet. So go on, get outside and play!


THE WATER CYCLE The fresh water we use each day from local reservoirs or rainwater tanks is actually as old as the hills – maybe even older! Water makes its way around the planet in a process known as the WATER CYCLE. When it’s hot, liquid water in the oceans turns into gas that rises into the atmosphere through the process of evaporation. High in the sky the gas cools down and turns into little droplets, forming clouds. When the little droplets get denser, they form bigger droplets of liquid water. When the droplets get too heavy they fall back down to Earth as rain. When it’s really cold, the water will turn solid and form snow or hail.

THE GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE Way out in the Pacific Ocean there is a HUGE pile of floating garbage known as the ‘Pacific Trash Vortex’ or the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’. The total size is unclear as it accumulates in 5 different gyres or ocean currents that are constantly moving. Some people think it’s the same size as France! Unlike other materials, plastic takes more than 1000 years to break down. It disintegrates into plastic confetti that fish can swallow and if we eat the fish we swallow it too!

Albuera Street Primary, TAS Albuera Green Team are a group of students who love the planet. Their fabulous Chef competition saw each class take turns in planning, preparing and serving a healthy lunch item and an after school snack using sustainable food practices.


A short shower uses less water than having a bath.

OUR RIVER OF LIFE The vital Murray-Darling River system provides water to 60% of our farms and is sometimes called the food basket of Australia. Its basin covers 1 million square km reaching into 4 States and 1 Territory. Because of long droughts, increasing salinity, pollution and too much irrigation, the river hasn’t got as much water and this is causing problems for all the people who rely on it for survival. The river is home to many endangered species and special wetlands. The Government is currently working out an agreement so that the river’s water can be shared and keep the ecosystems working and farms producing. It’s a tricky task.

Come up with 3 ways your family can save water. Make a poster for the fridge.

OCEANS The 4 oceans of the world cover 70% of the planet. They are teeming with life and home to millions of species, some we haven’t discovered yet. Pollution, over fishing and climate change are threatening this fragile ecosystem. Oceans produce half of the world’s oxygen and store carbon. Scientists are concerned that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will increase ocean acidification by changing the PH levels of the water. This will change the way the ocean works impacting on marine life. It’s interesting stuff – find out more!

WHAT IS DESALINATION ? It is the process of removing salt from seawater to make it potable, or drinkable. Because of droughts and population increase the water treatment plants are being built more often. The technology is improving and the cost of desalination Is falling.

Ban plastic bottles in your family and make sure everyone uses their own reusable water bottles. Make posters for school explaining why this is important and help to stop plastic filling up our rubbish dumps.


With over 23 million Australians, we make a lot of rubbish. If we all lived by the 6Rs it would make a big difference.


e , ref u s e , respe ct a e d u c e , re u s n d re p r , e l yc lenis c e h R

HOW MUCH OF WHAT YOU BUY ENDS UP IN THE BIN BEFORE AN HOUR IS UP ? Could these items be repaired to make them last a little longer? Maybe some things could be reused or recycled and made into something else? What about the packaging – love it or leave it? Rethinking the way we use resources can help to reduce landfill, cut back on greenhouse gas emissions, ease the pressure on our natural environment and save us money! Be on the look out for special tricks, such as advertising, that hook you in to ‘needing’ more stuff.


We use a plastic bag or bottle for a few minutes – they takes centuries to decompose and never truly break down!

Carrum Primary School, VIC Carrum Primary are so passionate about the environment, they dedicate a whole semester to learning about sustainability, and they truly are waste warriors! Their efforts to reduce waste, recycle and teach others are inspirational.

The story of STUFF

Plastics are a problem – devise a plan to reduce the number of bags, bottles and other plastic items at your school.

LASTING A LIFETIME? When shopping with mum or dad to buy something new, look for good quality stuff that’s built to last. Buy products with a warranty to make repairing or replacing them easy and cheap. Sometimes it’s cheaper for companies to give us a brand new item because the cost of repair is too expensive. Sometimes companies also sell products that are not built to last but only work until the next model is released – they call this whacky idea “planned obsolescence”. Always think before you buy and look after your things to make them last for the long haul.


POWER FOOD FOR WORMS One of the easiest ways to reduce landfill is to build a compost and worm farm. Food scraps and other plantbased materials such as paper and cardboard can be used to feed the worms. They will break it down to organic material that can be used as natural fertiliser in the garden.

RESPECT AND REPLENISH Many things that we need come from our natural environment. Paper is made from trees and glass is made from sand. We need to respect everything we use and replenish what we take. Planting more trees in forestry, creating marine reserves to prevent overfishing and using only what we need are ways of doing this. Which of the 6Rs is the easiest to do? Which one do you need to work at improving?


REALLY NEED ? Of course we love stuff and some of it is necessary for our survival. But we’re making a lot of stuff we don’t really need. Making stuff uses up natural and processed materials, energy, money and creates pollution. Then it needs to be transported to the shops and often we only use it for a little while before throwing it away. It’s a good time to ask: how much stuff do we really need?


Get ready! Extreme weather can be unpredictable and dangerous. The best thing we can do is learn about emergency situations and know what to do.

HANDS ON Sign up for ‘Witness King Tides’ and join mum, dad or friends to take some photos when big tides hit our coasts. www.witnesskingtides.org

Tropical Cyclones are each given their own name from a list kept by the Bureau of Meteorology. Names can be used again only if the cyclone did not cross the coast.


Do drills at schools and practice staying safe during a disaster.

Weather and Climate Weather is all around us all of the time. It is the day to day conditions of a place. Rain, temperature, fog, snow, clouds, sunshine are all elements of the weather. Someone who studies weather and makes weather forecasts is called a meteorologist.

Climate is the average weather conditions measured over time. Australia has a hotter climate than Alaska. Climatologists are people who study climate patterns and climate change over time.



Talk with your family about what to do in case of an emergency. How would you respond if you knew a flood, cyclone or fire was nearby? Find out where to take shelter in a storm. At home, it’ll be the strongest part of your house and the room with fewest windows. The local hall or school might turn into an Evacuation Centre. Take care of your pets. Plan how you will transport them to safety, make sure they are vaccinated and prepare pet evacuation kits. Make up an Emergency Supplies Kit with food, a first aid kit, safety equipment and contact numbers.

HEATWAVE HELP When it is extremely hot we can overheat. Babies and older people are most at risk. During a heatwave remember to drink lots of water, stay cool indoors, wear lightweight clothing and try not to exercise. Don’t forget your pets, they will need shade and extra water.

What is your family emergency plan? Sit down and make one!


Know who to call for help. For the State Emergency Service (SES) call 132-500, for police and emergency services call 000. Pack up your special things to keep them safe. Print this checklist and go through it with your family: www.emergency.qld.gov.au/kids/kidnas/ documents/prepared_home_checklist. pdf



• • • •

• Arranging accommodation for people • Arranging relief funds

Clearing leaf litter from drains Laws for total fire ban days Building flood levees Warning systems

PREPARATION • Telling people and evacuation • Protecting property and animals • Arranging supplies

RECOVERY • Clean up • Rebuilding • Support for people affected


Build it Back Green

Extreme weather events

King Tides


Red Cross



We are all in it together!



The United Nations (UN) helps look after the citizens of the world. In 2005 they started a ten-year program called the ‘Decade of Education for Sustainable Development’ and developed a list of ‘Millennium Development Goals’ to improve health, education, living conditions, food security, gender equity and environmental sustainability for everyone. In order to achieve these goals, we all need to get involved! That’s why the UN helps teach young people like you what we can do to have enough for all.

In Australia, everyone older than 18 years has his or her say on who represents us in Parliament because we are a democracy. Our Government is led by politicians who we elect to make decisions.

Learn more here: www.un.org/millenniumgoals

The States came together and agreed to have a federal government in 1 Jan 1901 (Federation).


The Prime Minister is the head honcho for Australia and leads the Federal Government. Then there are the State Governments, led by Premiers (or Chief Ministers for the Territories) and local councils, led by Mayors who look after our towns, cities and shires. Each level of Government focuses on particular areas like defence, education and telecommunications. Who are your politicians?

THE GOLDEN RULE We all need to treat each other with respect. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed on 10 December 1948 and contains 30 articles that explain our rights. In summary, everyone on this planet has a right to: • Freedom and equality • Work and have a family • Live and be safe • Justice before the law • Nationality, representation and education • Think, believe and express themselves

WE ARE ALL EQUAL Girls and boys are treated the same in Australia but kids in other countries aren’t so lucky. There are millions of girls who don’t go to school because it is discouraged. Instead, they are trapped in a life of menial jobs, or worse. In some other countries women aren’t allowed to drive. Gender equity means that both males and females are treated equally.

How to live the Earth Charter in your school:

HOW TO BE A COOL CITIZEN ! • Know what goes on in the world

• Read and discuss the Earth Charter with your teacher

• Look out for others and try to do something to help

• Make up your own words for the Earth Charter

• Write to your local politicians telling them your opinion

• Share your story online:


• Be positive and have a go that’s how people change the world

Variety is the spice of life!

THINK GLOBAL, ACT LOCAL Australia is a popular destination for tourists because of our amazing mix of animals, plants and landscapes. Some of them can’t be found anywhere else in the world - like woylies - and we need to protect them. Scientists have collected evidence that global environmental issues can upset the balance of our Australian ecosystems.


AMAZING ADAPTATION Some species are changing their habits to suit different environmental conditions. Possums and bush turkeys are eating different foods and finding shelter in buildings by living in towns and cities. Sometimes adaptation causes problems. The ibis birds are no longer shy and can be pests, stealing food in parks. If there is too much plentiful food, there can be too many animals which can throw the balance of nature out. Some plants have adapted to live in areas with less rainfall or different temperatures. Charles Darwin described this as ‘the survival of the fittest’.

OUTDOOR PROJECTS Sometimes we are so busy we don’t stop and look around – outside is amazing! Grab your hat and go. • Make a bird bath

WISE WORDS “It is that range of biodiversity that we must care for - the whole thing - rather than just one or two stars.”

David Attenborough


• Plant a butterfly garden with plants that flower at different times of the year to have year round blooms • Collect rocks and find out about the different types • Start a compost heap

GOING, GOING, GONE? Poaching, diseases, land clearing and climate change are the main threats to the survival of our animal species. Governments around the world are taking action to protect threatened species and their habitats. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) splits up species into different groups depending on how risky their survival is:

BE A DETECTIVE The only way to find out what’s going on in your backyard is to get out there and have a close look.

• EXTINCT: All gone! • EXTINCT IN THE WILD: Some are in zoos – but none are left in the wild, so they are precious. • ENDANGERED: Could be a real chance on extinction soon – be aware! • NEAR THREATENED: Could be at risk in future – so keep them in mind! • CRITICALLY ENDANGERED: There’s a real chance they will soon be gone in the wild – focus hard here! • VULNERABLE: Medium term risk of extinction - so we need to protect them! • LEAST CONCERN: No worries mate – at least compared to other species.

• Watch out for scats – or animal poo! These little ‘presents’ are sure-fire signs of the presence of animals nearby. Take a photo or draw a sketch but you probably don’t want to touch or smell them! • Look for tracks. Even animals without feet leave footprints of some sort. For thousands of years, Australia’s Indigenous people used animal tracks to find food. • Search for signs. Holes in a leaf could be evidence that an insect lives nearby. Holes in the ground could be evidence of an animal’s home – a spider, snake or maybe even a wombat!

• Find out which species are threatened here: www.iucnredlist.org

Make a list of the most endangered Australian species (flora and fauna). Which ones are close to you?

There are new species being discovered all the time. Taxonomists are the scientists who classify them based on their structure, behaviour and origin.


The future is just around the corner and we need to think outside the square to create solutions to the challenges we face.








It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how the world has changed since humans built our civilisation. There are some great tips and tricks to live more sustainably that have been around for aaaaaages! Compost bins, water tanks, backyard veggie gardens and the 6Rs aren’t new ideas – can you think of some more?

Some issues simply didn’t exist a generation or two ago and we are finding new ways of thinking to address them. One cool way of thinking is ‘biomimicry’, where we look to nature for ecological ways of doing things in our everyday city living. For example, we now have coatings, fabrics and other materials that were inspired by the microscopic texture of butterfly wings.

What could we achieve if we didn’t say ‘it’s impossible?’. Dream up some amazing solutions to today’s problems.

Be creative and show how much you care. Make your own gifts for friends and family.

THE ASIA-PACIFIC: OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD GREEN JOBS The possibilities are endless. People are employed as environmental engineers, energy auditors, transport designers, environmental scientists, meteorologists, hydrologists and environmental lawyers. No matter what the job, you will need the skills of creative thinking, problem solving and teamwork. Here’s a secret: scientists – the people who are helping us learn about our world – are the coolest future makers of all!


We are living in the fastest growing region in the world. The Asia-Pacific population is expanding very quickly and countries like China and India are playing a big role. Neighbours get to know each other so they can help one another. Why not learn Chinese, Japanese, Hindi or Korean? Just imagine how many more people you will be able to talk to and the different job opportunities that might be open to you in the future.

Every year we celebrate your wonderful projects and awesome ideas with a HUGE awards ceremony. Win terrific prizes for your project ideas and have fun saving the planet! Visit the Green Lane Diary website for more details and to sign up for our eNews where we announce competitions and awards!!! Grab your diary and start thinking about what you can do to make the world a better place! • Write a diary entry every day of term: stick on stuff and make it look cool. • Join together to run your own green project: at school, at home or in your neighborhood. • Share your projects with other kids: online, in print and in video!


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