Environment Action Team member Ngurung Brown with Save Indonesian Endangered Species Fund treasurer Richard Hagley at the high school.
Environment Action Team member Ngurung Brown with Save Indonesian Endangered Species Fund treasurer Richard Hagley at the high school.

Excess power use a turn-off

Switch it off. That’s one of the messages from students who are part of the newly-formed Environment Action Team at Byron Bay High School.


One of their aims is to cut power usage at the school, expand gardens and use only sustainable environmentally-friendly products.


A survey they conducted showed more than 90 percent of students were happy to give up crisps if it meant not using palm oil.


A group of Year 8 students are taking the lead with power use and are running a campaign to enforce turning off all electrical equipment at the end of the day.


They check that lights, air-conditioning, fans and equipment are all turned off, and speak up if this is not done.


Said David Krippner: “Even a little thing like turning off lights makes a huge difference over one year, so we think it is important to do it.


“Turn it off is our message.”


Students who make up the EA Team have a wide range of aims in raising awareness of environmental issues both locally and worldwide.


Year 8 student Davis Jensen said students wanted to learn more and they wanted to do something significant that adults would notice.


“We can make a difference and show the rest of the school the way we live doesn’t have to be detrimental to the environment,” he said.


 School captain and also a member of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition Anika Jensen said: “We want to have a choice in how the world will look when we are adults.


“It is really vital to us to still have the things we feel are important. It sometimes seems there will be nothing left for us.”


The EA Team’s first fundraising effort has already raised enough money to adopt five orangutan babies (Australian Orangutan Project adoption program) and to purchase protection for a reafforestation plot in Kalimantan.


Last week they presented their cheque to Save Indonesian Endangered Species Fund (SIES) treasurer Richard Hagley.


They chose SIES because it gives its funds direct to on-ground community-based projects in Indonesia without office costs.


The school-funded plot is part of the SIES reforestation project in Lamandau Reserve for the release of captive orangutans.


The sentiment for orangutans was expressed by Year 8 student Perrine Rees.


“I feel extremely annoyed that humans are destroying species and rainforest developed over millions of years,” said Perrine.


“We are pretty much destroying our own world. I feel the sadness of the orphan baby orangutans and I can’t stand to think they will be extinct in the wild.


“They are beautiful animals and deserve our help. We want to see them living safe and free in the rainforest.”


Teacher-librarian Jim Richardson said ‘these amazing kids’ would be the leaders of the next generation.


“They reinvigorate us with their energy and we are proud to help to empower them,” he said.


Student Ngurung Brown said even though it was a small group, it was making a difference in protecting the environment.


“We want people in power to notice and establish a sustainable world for our future,” said Ngurung.


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