Energised kids introduce their own clean energy future bills – the Boya.

A cool kind of money called the Boya that represents actions to achieve carbon reductions has been launched by its founders, the Maia Maia Project Emissions Reductions Currency System (www.maiamaia.org) at the first participating school, Coolbinia Primary School in Perth, Western Australia.

Children at Coolbinia PS have put their own value on carbon pollution in their community by issuing a local currency that is issued according to how many reductions are achieved by the school as they implement their “10 Tonne Plan” to reduce the school’s greenhouse gas emissions (www.maiamaia.org/test/67-coolbinia-cool-school.html).

One Boya is created for each 10 kilograms of greenhouse pollution reduction they achieve through climate friendly initiatives such as composting food waste at the school, growing vegetables organically, maintaining the natural bushland on the school grounds, students involved in reducing car journeys to school through participation in the TravelSmart Walking School Bus program, and using recycling proceeds to fund a Solar Lanterns project at their Solar Sister school in Uganda.

The currency is named the Boya after trading tokens used traditionally by the indigenous Nyoongar people of south-west Western Australia.

The Boya can then be traded within the school for produce from the schools organic garden, for discounts in Coolbinia PS fetes, and also can exchange for discounts on goods at a growing number of participating local businesses that want to show support for the initiative and the school.

‘The Boya carry the story about the school communities efforts to create a more sustainable future’ says Maia Maia Director, Sam Nelson, who has a daughter attending Coolbinia PS.

‘When we create and trade Boya, we are supporting each other in creating a better future for the whole community, the whole world.’

‘As Boya move around from person to person, they carry the story of positive community action that will further inspire ourselves and engage with others, creating opportunities to “pay-forward” actions to reduce climate change,’ says Mr Nelson

Boyas and the 10 Tonne Plan

The official launch of Boya was combined with delivery of the results of the Coolbinia PS 10 Tonne Plan (www.maiamaia.org/test/67-coolbinia-cool-school.html), a program for the school to create 10 tonnes of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions held at the school today Friday 18 November 2011.

‘I am thrilled our students are leading the way in relation to acting on climate change, encouraging their families to greater awareness of their actions, and leading to greater engagement of our whole community,’ says Elaine Lewis, Sustainability Coordinator at Coolbinia PS.

‘Our partners and sponsors have enabled this initiative to proceed and we are extremely grateful to work together with others, in stewardship of our planet,’ says Ms Lewis.

Prof Ray Wills, representing the Sustainable Energy Association of Australia (SEA) and (www.seaaus.com.au), a supporter of the initiative through the SEA’s Energising Kids program, was invited to officially launch the Boya at today’s ceremony.

‘The journey for Australia has begun, it has started here today at Coolbinia, and the Sustainable Energy Association is proud to be a supporter of this great idea brought to reality by the hard work of those involved in the Maia Maia group,’ says Professor Ray Wills, SEA Chief Executive.

‘Like all truly sustainable initiatives, the Boya is worth much more than the face value of the Boya bill, as it encourages participation and action by others,’ says Prof Wills.

SEA’s Energising Kids is a new program of the Sustainable Energy Association of Australia to help build awareness of renewable energy and energy efficiency with the next generation of decision makers.

The 10 Tonne Plan at the Coolbinia Primary School, partnering with the Maia Maia Project, has been supported by the Sustainable Energy Association of Australia, Waste Authority  of Western Australia, Waste Wise Schools and Solar Sister.

Maia Maia and SEA invite other schools as well as community groups to be find out how to become a part of the plan. Run by the schools and community groups themselves for their own benefit, there are some small establishment costs to the school to get the program up,  but the value returned to the students, the school and the greater community through collective action is enormous - value that for Coolbinia has included savings in energy costs in operation of the school!

Schools and community groups wanting to know more should contact the Maia Maia Project (www.maiamaia.org). Businesses interested in supporting action on climate change through sustainable energy solutions, and want to find out how they might support this initiative in particular, should contact SEA (www.sea.com.au).

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