The Wollongong Environment Network is an initiative of the Catholic Education Office that aims to support school communities implement environmental stewardship and sustainability. The WEN is a strategic attempt to help the Catholic Education Office and diocesan schools address the challenge put forth from Thomas Berry OP,
“All human institutions, professions, programs and activities must now be judged by the extent to which they inhibit, ignore, or foster a human and Earth relationship.”
The WEN is a response to our call as Christians to “realise that responsibility within creation and our duty towards nature and the Creator, are an essential part of our faith.”
Pope John Paul II 1990 New Year Message
Overview of WEN
• The WEN is voluntary for each school to attend, but it is hoped that each school has a sustainability contact.
• The WEN meets regularly and is facilitated by the CEO, specifically the CLEM Team with leading teachers in schools taking on various responsibilities as needs arise.
• The WEN links into Catholic Earthcare, the Catholic Sustainable Schools Network (CSSN) and shares ideas from other Catholic Dioceses in NSW.
• WEN members will share current research and educational programs to be implemented across schools.
• Leading teachers within WEN will mentor other staff members in implementing sustainability in their own schools.
• The WEN will link “like schools” together for school visits and professional development.
• The WEN will lead members in the process of collating a School Environment Management Plan (SEMP).
• The WEN will provide information on various grants that are available through government and other agencies.
• The WEN will provide teachers with information about NGOs involved in sustainability, environment and climate change, for example the ERC.
• WEN aims to build capacity in schools to ensure the longevity and sustainability of environmental projects.
• Above all WEN aims to promote that environmental measures are not separate or additional measures in schools. Environmental Stewardship is an overarching theme and it is not to be seen as “something else”