CERES Education Interview with Colleen Filippa
Director, Fifteen Trees
1. How did you first get started with environmental education?
I studied Environmental Science at Melbourne State College back in the 1980s, but it was probably the Franklin River Campaign in Tasmania around that same time, that really got me interested in protecting our native environment.
2. What have been the biggest highlights of your journey so far?
Becoming an Al Gore Climate Reality Ambassador has been one of my highlights. Completing this 3 day course has given me the knowledge and confidence to teach about climate change to teachers, business leaders and concerned community members.
On a more personal level, being able to refute my climate denier brother-in-law at our Xmas gathering last year was a massive highlight.
3. What has been the biggest obstacle? How did you/are you overcoming it?
I think we all get a bit weary having to constantly convince people that the science is solid and that we need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Big business and political parties are not moving fast enough on this issue.
I really believe in people power and to recharge my batteries I head off to rallies/protests to join with others in demonstrating that we want action on climate change.
4. What future plans or goals are you excited about?
Fifteen Trees is growing and I’m excited to now be looking at employing a horticulture student to liaise between the planting groups and their local nursery.
I’m almost at the 50,000 trees mark and people are now finding me on the web.
Business wise, I’m in a great place. I have new companies coming on board and it is so great to be planting trees for fantastic organisations such as CERES. In fact, I have just planted 60 trees on behalf of some of CERES’ visitors. The trees were planted at a rural school up at Manangatang Vic. You can find the story here. (http://www.15trees.com.au/2014/ceres/)
5. What advice would you offer to someone wanting to begin a sustainability program at their school or organisation?
Have a look at the schools that ‘do sustainability well’. There are sure to be a couple in your local area.
Also check out the ResourceSmart Schools website and get your principal on board. ResourceSmart Schools is an initiative of the State Government and is great resource for participating schools.
Surround yourself by ‘like-minded souls’. Start up a Green Team and get the ball rolling on one simple project. For example, introduce a ‘switch off’ program to encourage everyone to turn off his or her computers at the end of the day.
CERES Education would like to thank Colleen for sharing her story.
Check out how Fifteen Trees help schools visiting CERES reduce their excursions travel carbon emissions
For more information, visit the Fifteen Trees website