Naturally Smart programme in South Australia and Tasmania


Take a breath, hold it, hold it, hold it… eventually you know you will have to breath out and take another. This simple act embodies our connection to everything else – we are of the place, we are of the earth and it is of us.

We spent three days at the Nazareth School site together working on the Naturally Smart programme in South Australia developing permaculture inspired designs for our various school sites. The next phase of this work will see the schools meeting regularly and sharing their ongoing findings with other schools in the network.

Taking a breath, paying attention to our breathing, the regulatory system of self becomes an opportunity, an invitation, to slow down and reconsider, to realign and to reconnect.

That is what we have been doing with the Naturally Smart programme – a longitudinal enquiry at the school level into the conditions which facilitate sustainable practice. This work is emergent, nuanced to individual and organisational settings, diverse and yet capable of being modelled and framed so that it can be replicated across  a multitude of sites. It is as far as we are aware the first substantive effort to design and develop a pedagogic approach to ecological consciousness and as such is fraught with frontier challenges, but it is providing to be accessible, pragmatic and thought provoking.

It is an opening to a new story.

The story explores the idea that everything is connected to everything else, now and forever.

As Ben Okra observes, ‘Stories are the secret reservoir of values: change the stories individuals and nations live by and tell themselves and you change the individuals and nations. Nations and peoples are largely the stories they feed themselves. If they tell themselves stories that are lies, they will suffer the future consequences of those lies. If they tell themselves stories that face their own truths, they will free their histories for future flowerings.’ (Okri

Commission on the future of multiethnic Britain 2000, 103,3,4)

If this is so, then what is the story for our time?

In responding we are intent on providing solutions by developing resources which support knowledge, skills, understanding and capabilities that will support young people and equip them with the resilience to respond to the challenges that the 21st century might throw at them.

Central to our analysis of human and planetary condition in the early part of the 21st century is the understanding that we urgently need to align human progress within the broader process and systems of the planetary needs. Any further imbalance between people care and earth care is likely to put us on a collision path with the very life systems upon which we depend.

To do this we now have to reimagine education. This requires a fundamental change of core practice.

Business as usual will not be sufficient to shift human consciousness towards an ecological alignment with the life systems of the earth.  Education will have to change in the coming years to ensure that our young people are suitably knowledgeable with ideas that are conducive for survival in the context of climate and environmental change.

To do this we have to adopt and learn new capabilities, and apply these into the routine of daily school life as a matter of urgency.

It is a simple but profound shift that this work is calling every teacher and every learner to attend to, one which moves human ego to recognise and respond positively to the creative eco.

It starts from where we are now, and builds slowly towards a transformed educational offer, one which still serves the human society, but is reframed to also attend to the role of young people as citizens of planet earth.

This is the agenda for global educational reform and implicates us all in making changes that connect us at a local level. It is the rationale for a paradigm shift, changing human consciousness to attend to our place within an ecological system of which we are all a part.

Our work in South Australia, Tasmania, Hong Kong, UK, France, Brasil, and elsewhere puts these ideas into practice.

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Another Adelaide interview

As the current generation works to halt destructive environmental  practises and limit climate change, the next generation will face the huge job of repairing the planet.  The Pop Up Foundation is working with schools around the globe, teaching children, as well as their teachers and parents, what it means to live sustainably. Barometer’s Sue Reece speaks with Founder Paul Clarke.


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a reminder…

Pop-Up-Foundation creates the conditions that enable regenerative projects to flourish.
We work with schools, communities and businesses.
We connect ideas, experience and knowledge of sustainable regenerative solutions and help people to identify and overcome their challenges.
We draw on a huge, free resource to do all of this stuff, the resource of human creativity.
We do this to improve the quality of life of everything and everyone.

Thanks everyone for the continued support for our work

External Links

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eduCOP21 01.10.15 onwards




What is eduCOP21?

eduCOP21 is a worldwide call in response to the agenda to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, develop zero waste programmes, improve and enhance damaged ecosystems and recycle the materials we use in daily life.


Inspired by the Paris-based COP21 climate talks, we are planning to connect young people through their schools globally to this shared agenda for ecological action.


Imagine a network of like-minded motivated young people, working internationally as co-designers and joining forces to develop the best projects worldwide that they can in order to establish truly sustainable communities. The process is guided by the idea that we can gather and disseminate, and use this method to enhance awareness and understanding of solutions. We know that education will play a central role in the process of change towards ecological stability, eduCOP21 will kickstart this activity.


What is the story behind the idea?

After years of work within the field of climate and environment development education we are more than aware of the human induced risks associated with global warming. For decades the scientific warnings have gone unheard. Humankind has reached a point where incremental adaptations will no longer be sufficient to respond to the challenge ahead.


What is needed now is a fundamental rethinking.  Instead of waiting for the politicians, we will act as a global community, as part of the response programme coming from the public to cop21, eduCOP21 focuses on young people and their thoughts, ideas and activity.


What is the aim?

Everywhere across the planet there are clever, imaginative and simple sustainable solutions in response to the big themes and we aim to connect, capture and develop this planetary resource.


eduCOP21 is the catalyst to further develop, connect and promote the ideas and to enable many more young people, through their schools, to engage in their own sustainability education projects. By the start of the COP21 we plan to be able to present a vision of a range of  sustainable actions that can be shared in 2016 and beyond through our globally organised network of schools the Naturally Smart World network. Examples so far include a multi school Zero Waste Programme, in Hong Kong A Plastic Awareness Project in the UK, a multi-school tree planting project for carbon capture in Australia, solar and wind generation projects in France, with similar activity in Brasil, Canada, and community food growing through school efforts in Uganda.


What happens next?

We will invite schools to challenge their students  in the lead up to the climate talks to come forward with ideas and actions for projects they can continue to develop during 2016 and onwards – we will present the first stage results of the call for action at the public expo in Paris at COP21. In January 2016 we will generate the Naturally Smart World network and begin to act on the call.


This is a huge opportunity for young people to participate in an important global project, and to contribute to the agenda of action and change towards a new societal understanding and use of ecological and regenerative solutions for life on earth in the 21st century.

Where does it lead?

eduCOP21 is the test-site for an ecologicially literate planet.

We are using the stimulus and insight gained from other projects that we have been working on the lead up to the climate talks such as to focus our efforts into the school sector and build upon the belief that diversity of approach and ecologically resilient design are  fundamental to the creation of innovative approaches to the changes we require worldwide.

Thanks and pass the message on!

Professor Paul Clarke

Registration site:

Contact Organisation: Pop Up Foundation

Named contact: Paul Clarke

mob: +44 07590470553

sponsorship contact:


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