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A Year 7-12 competition
Schools for Sustainability - think, research, act!

How can we design a sustainable future for everyone? All over the world, young people are fighting for a common goal: a sustainable future. Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old from Sweden, is their role model. But schools also play an important role: They can help to strengthen the ability of young people to innovate and to act.

Unternehmen Deutsch©iStock

Task and Registration

Teams of students explore the ecological situation in their place of residence, street or school. With concrete ideas and actions, they draw the public's attention to the existing ecological situation. To conclude, they must submit project documentation. 

To register the teams for the competition, please use this form. (Deadline: 5 June 2020)

The teams must submit their project documentation to sonja.pluess@goethe.de by 25 September 2020. The project documentation consists of the completed form (project description "Schools for Sustainability") and can be supplemented with photos, videos, flyers, etc.

Project description "Schools for Sustainability

The competition is made up of three parts:

  • What are the problems in my community? Who is affected?
  • What has already been done to solve the problems? 
  • Define the project goal: What should be achieved with the project?
  • What are other schools or communities doing?
  • Can ideas from Germany and other countries be transferred to Australia?
  • What can we learn from experts?
  • Develop and carry out the action
  • Exchange and build networks
  • Inform the public
The projects are evaluated by experts. The project documentation must meet the following criteria:
  • Nature and importance of the environmental problem
  • Practical and result orientation of the implemented project
  • Clarity, logic and structure of the description of the documentation
  • Documentation of the project and its implementation (eg: photos, videos, questionnaires, articles in the local media, etc.). 
At the end of the term 4, a video conference will take place to exchange ideas between teams from different states. At the same time, a jury of experts will evaluate the projects. The evaluation takes place in two categories:

Category 1: Years 7 - 9
Category 2: Years 10 - 12

Winning teams in each category receive $300 in prize money.

Teaching Materials

The Goethe-Institut provides worksheets for the preparation of the competition, which help the students to prepare and carry out their own environmental project.

The students can network with young people from other parts of the world and exchange ideas via the Facebook page "Umwelt macht Schule". 

If you would like to continue to include the topic of sustainability in your German lessons, you can find more material  here.


Porträt Elisabeth Vogel © Elisabeth Vogel

Elisabeth Vogel

Elisabeth Vogel is a hydrological modelling scientist at the Bureau of Meteorology, with a background in environmental science. Her research interests are focused on the impacts of climate change and climate extreme events (such as droughts or heatwaves) on agricultural production and water resources - in Australia and worldwide - and how humans interact with the natural world to increase or decrease the risk of negative impacts.

Portrait Melanie Bruckberger © Melanie Bruckberger

Melanie Bruckberger

Melanie Bruckberger is a Policy Officer at the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation in Perth. She is currently also completing her PhD, researching different ways of breaking down petroleum products using bacteria.

Portrait Mandy Freud

Mandy Freud

Mandy Freud is a PhD researcher at the Australian-German Climate & Energy College. She uses high-resolution palaeoclimate archives to reconstruct past climate variability over the last millennium. Her work involves developing Australasian and Southern Hemisphere climate reconstructions for comparison with state-of-the-art climate model simulations.


Sonja Pluess
Project Coordinator