Students of Sustainability
James WF Roberts
Key Dates: 4-8th July 2012, La Trobe University Bendigo
For more information and ticket purchases visit http://studentsofsustainability.org/
Within a week of the Carbon Tax, hitting the Australian economic market place as it were, something very interesting is going to be happening in the Regional Victorian city of Bendigo. Students of Sustainability, now in it’s 21st year, the annual five-day conference will be brimming with workshops, open forums, skill shares, excursions, campaign updates and a sustainable film festival. With representatives from The Wilderness Society, Friends of the Earth, No Gas in the Kimberley, Anti-Nukes, Forest activists, sustainability leaders as well as Indigenous elders from around the nation. There will also be local plenary featuring local leaders in sustainability and environmental fields The forum plans to demonstrate how theory and practice can be used to make positive social and environmental change.
This is not just a festival for the Green-chic brigades in the inner-city, this is where the real action is taking place. Pardon the pun, but this grassroots orientated action group; pertaining to different groups who all have the same agenda, sounds like a very affirmative way of going about things.
This festival is not about exploitation, political-power, or moral superiority it ‘s only got one ideology permeating throughout all involved, “a better tomorrow”.
Year after year, SoS skips across the nation between universities, and spreads its unique change-making energy to the university and community that hosts it, attracting a diverse group of attendees from across the country. Together, presenters and participants draw upon a broad range of contemporary issues within the realm of sustainability to teach, learn, discuss, empower, activate and expand national networks of like-minded people looking towards being a part of a more ecologically and socially sustainable world. Excursions will be had to showcase local sustainability initiatives. In the evening, bodies and minds will be warmed from winter with musical entertainment featuring music from the McAlpine Fusiliers, Kevin Gentil and the Commoners Revolt at the Golden Vine Hotel, Bike Polo competitions, chai sipping and a fundraiser evening on Saturday the 7th hosted by the Lizards Revenge Anti-Nukes collective which will also feature music from local act the sitar adventure as well as visitors Pataphysics, Kaso and UngusUngusUngus.
From the 4-8th July 2012, La Trobe University Bendigo will be infused with the minds of up to 400 students and community members as it hosts Australia’s longest running environmental and social justice conference.
As mentioned earlier, this is not a political rally—well it is, and it isn’t. This is not a protest group but an action plan. They are not going to be causing traffic jams, or forcing people not to go to work, it seems to me that their primary goal is to educate, reach out and create.
SoS is organised entirely by volunteers. This year, with the full support of the Bendigo Student Association (BSA) and La Trobe University, by students hailing from the La Trobe Environmental Action Forum (LEAF) and The Australian Student Environment Network (ASEN). The $150 registration fee includes full conference participation, 3 vegan meals per day, entertainment and on site camping. Single day tickets are $30 each.
I will be checking up with one of the organisers, Chelsea Coles, For an interview on Thursday 5th July and broadcasting it on my radio show. And blogging about my experience at the festival.