High school students Anzac Gallate and Nola Smart have their sights set on a sustainable future. As part of the Cashmere High School Sustainability Council, they have been working on many different projects and campaigns throughout their school and community that focus on sustainability, encourage education, raise awareness and improve the school environment.
Recently, their team was awarded $100,000 USD by the Zayed Future Energy Prize in recognition of their efforts, particularly towards energy monitoring and conservation (in which they achieved a 30% reduction in total energy usage at their school). Entering the competition, their team had to compete against over 1,400 other schools from across the globe, presenting visions for the future of their communities.
Travelling to the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week to receive the award, Nola and another team member met key figures in the sustainable arena. They engaged with world leaders such as Ban Ki Moon, like-minded students and past winners of the prize. Their experiences helped reinforce the importance of working together, both within our own communities and globally, for a more sustainable way of life.
Now, Cashmere will be the first school in New Zealand to install the latest technology of piezoelectric floor tiles, generating electricity as you walk on them. As the team fulfills their proposal they’ll also be installing two solar arrays and a wind turbine. Each of these installments will be used to educate and promote sustainable practice while engaging students and adults alike.
Through their activities, this small group have learnt the incredible power of simple behavioural change and how even the smallest choices can make a difference. They are incredibly eager to continue developing their ideas and projects, looking to the future with increased emphasis on education and outreach programs into both the local and international community. Aiming to form a strong community with similar interests they’ll also be continuing their work with other schools, including previous winners of the Zayed Future Energy Prize.