Climate change educator and leader, Tom Linnell, has taken out the $10,000 top prize in the Premier’s Climate Change Awards by empowering his students to deliver innovative emissions reduction projects linked to learning outcomes.

South Australia’s climate change action leaders were celebrated last night at a Premier’s Climate Change Council celebration with Tom Linnell taking out the top award for his innovative work in education.Mr Linnell was awarded a $10,000 prize as the overall winner for empowering his students to in deliver innovative emissions reduction projects linked to learning outcomes.

Tenison Woods College has set targets to be to be off grid by 2030 and zero waste by 2025, thanks to the work of Mr Linnell, his students and the school board.

A number of exciting projects have been initiated to achieve these targets, including an industrial green waste composter, an e-waste reuse market and a student managed plastic recycling enterprise.

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said this is a great example of how an individual can lead by example and create positive change in our communities.

“Mr Linnell’s achievement in combining practical action and education to tackle climate change and prepare students for the jobs of the future is inspiring,” Minister Speirs said.

“A number of the projects being delivered are a first for an Australian school, and to align them with the curriculum and with TAFE certificates is a clever way to prepare students for future careers.

“We know that tackling climate change is a win-win for our economy and environment, and this work, along with the other projects presented at the awards, really demonstrates this.”

Minister Speirs acknowledged all the winners and entrants, and the outstanding efforts being made across the state.

“Congratulations to all the winners and finalists this evening, but also to the other entries who have not been mentioned. From grassroots change makers to ecotourism to carbon neutral certification – every project has an important part to play in tackling climate change,” Minister Speirs said.

“Last December the Marshall Liberal Government released its Climate Change Action Plan which is the most powerful vision for climate action of any South Australian Government in history.

“It’s important governments lead the way when it comes to climate action but It’s people and organisations such as the ones awarded tonight who will be critical in helping us achieve our goals.”

Premier’s Climate Change Council Chair Martin Haese said that the SA Climate Leaders Awards recognise the achievements of individuals and organisations who are leading on action to tackle climate change in South Australia and contributing to a climate smart economy.

“The judging panel was extremely impressed with the calibre of entries received this year. There are so many innovative projects and initiatives across South Australia which are helping our communities to deal with a changing climate and to build our reputation as a climate smart state.” said Mr Haese.

The awards recognised three category winners and an overall winner:

Overall winner and winner community category – Tom Linnell – for his role as a climate change educator and leader in empowering his students in delivering innovative emissions reduction projects linked to learning outcomes.

Business and industry category – Australian Gas Infrastructure Group – for delivering one of Australia’s largest renewable hydrogen projects at Hydrogen Park SA.

Government category – City of Onkaparinga – for greening and cooling their streetscapes and urban areas through the Greening Onkaparinga project.

For more information and to read case studies of the winners and finalists visit: http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/climateawards

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