Sustainable Cities Awards 2021
Education Finalists

Paula McIntosh
Paula McIntosh is a teacher and waste educator at Melbourne Girls’ College.

Paula is the inspiration behind the school’s 2019 National Parks Scheme (NPS) for waste campaign that kickstarted the journey to becoming a zero waste to landfill school.

The NPS was a huge challenge for the community, involving removing all bins (except sanitary and paper recycling bins) so that staff, students and visitors had to carry home any waste they produced. The idea of the scheme was not to shift the waste problem elsewhere, but to make the community more aware of their consumption. It gained widespread media attention.


Mik Aidt
Climate Emergency Declaration Campaign
In 2016, Mik Aidt recognised the need for a game changing approach to prompt action on climate change and established the website.

The ideas presented on this website have since been adopted across the world.

Mik volunteers his time as an advocate, educator, author, speaker and radio host to promote sustainable living and climate change action across Victoria, Australia and the world.

In June 2021, the climate emergency movement reached a huge milestone with over 1 billion people now living in jurisdictions that have declared a climate emergency. This includes people living within 27 member states of the European Union and 23 national governments that have made climate emergency declarations.


Straughton College
Edible Garden
Staughton College is a low socio-economic secondary school in the Western suburbs of Victoria.

With the school’s expansion, many green spaces and areas where students could take a mental pr physical break were impacted.

The edible garden is designed to be a space to learn about the environment, food waste, sustainability and skill building. The school is creating a garden that will be used as an outdoor classroom to educate the school community. It will be used for cross-curricular purposes as well as multiculturalism, self-expression, inclusive promotion of minority groups (such as women, Indigenous and LGBTIQA+) and be a space that encourages autonomy and self-regulation.

The garden space will be a living and creative area designed by the students that can also be used as a promotional tool for the school.

The students have given the garden an Alice in Wonderland theme.


St. James Catholic Primary School, Brighton
Growing excitement about Sustainability
Since late 2020, St. James Primary School in Brighton has undergone a sustainable transformation.

Through the hard work of parents and friends, led by Dave Ferrier, old worn artificial surfaces have been replaced with a natural wonderland. After ‘home-learning’ due to the pandemic, awestruck students were welcomed back to school to a new Sensory Garden made from natural materials like wood, fallen tree branches and river stones.

Playspaces to feed imagination were linked by an ‘adventure trail’ through a dry creek bed, and teachers relished a new outdoor classroom around a ‘campfire’. The Urban Food Forest soon followed, with containers of herbs, tomatoes and peppers planted to thrive over Summer. More hard work over Summer resulted in eight more garden beds ready for planting, plus a new rustic log-sided sandpit, just for fun.

With greater community support, plans are underway for a chicken coop and outdoor pizza oven made from recycled materials, and a ‘bush tucker’ garden developed with the Boonwurrung community as traditional custodians of the land.


Kath Jones
Perennial Compost Hub and Edible Ecosystem, Rewilding the City
Environment Victoria awarded a grant to collaborate with Finbar, Yarra Primary School and the wider community to deliver a $10,000 project that is a social and environmental regeneration exercise which values the three ethics of permaculture: Earth Care, People Care and Future Care (or Fair Share).

Some of the features of the project are a community share shed/tool library, an edible ecosystem, food forest, compost and worm farms to use and harvest from, natural and cultivated habitats, a seed bank and an Indigenous and beneficial plant library.

The natural asset instillation will increase water and fertility recharge and filter rainwater runoff, increase biodiversity belts in the urban environment, sequester carbon, provide a living laboratory with opportunities to participate in citizen science activities like the wild pollinator count and provide waste to resource opportunities composting two tonnes per week from households.

As part of the install, 12 free workshops were delivered to educate.


Future Minds Network
Future Minds Network
Future Minds Network focuses on what youth “can” do. It empowers them to develop solutions and create long-term impact in their communities across Australia, UK, US, Estonia, Finland.

Students launch businesses like 3D-printed faceshields fighting COVID19 to Letters Against ISO (LAISO), which sent 10,000 encouragement letters to the elderly to tackle loneliness.

During COVID, all work was cancelled, which called upon the youth to reinvent all the programs. They ended up having their biggest year – redesigning financial literacy for NAPLAN influencing 4 million students and discussed the effect of COVID on youth with the Department-of-Jobs.

They also tackled experiential learning and education needed for young people to navigate the ‘real world’. The entrepreneurship education model creates employment and helps youth rediscover their love of learning, making a lasting impact on community.


Geelong Sustainability
Sustainable House Day 2020
Through the Sustainable House Day event, Geelong Sustainability aims to fulfil its mission to empower people to protect and regenerate the planet.

By showcasing exemplar sustainable homes, this event helps educate the community on how they can live happier, healthier lives in homes that are cheaper to run, provide more thermal comfort and have lower carbon emissions.

Geelong Sustainability responded to COVID restrictions by delivering the 2020 Sustainable House Day event virtually. They produced eight high quality narrated house tour videos, held webinars with homeowners and experts and made the edited recordings available for future playback.

Overall 2021 Sustainable City Finalists

  • Greater Geelong
  • Yarra Rangers