Bordered by World Heritage rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is a truly unique and special city. Whilst its natural beauty and diversity is something to be celebrated, they also bring sustainability challenges as our city’s population expands and urbanisation spreads. There is no doubt that finding a balance between economic, environmental and social objectives for Cairns will be the greatest challenge for our future residents and leaders. It is for this reason that Humanities and Sustainability students at the Tropical North Learning Academy Smithfield State High School have taken up this challenge through a range of triple bottom line studies to investigate to ensure our city’s future is sustainable.
One of the key focuses of these studies has been around catchment care and reducing urban environmental impacts on the Great Barrier Reef. Students have been investigating the environmental, social and economic values of catchments in our area such as Saltwater Creek and Half Moon Creek Catchments and factors which are placing them under threat. This includes household waste and pollution, sediment and nutrient run off and introduced noxious plants and fish. As part of these studies we have partnered up with various experts from the Smart Catchments: Saltwater Creek Pilot Creek Program, James Cook University as well as the Cairns Aquarium to support learning and understanding on how best to manage these catchments for the future.
Sustainability students have taken this investigation even further by looking to future technologies and global best practice to ensure the sustainability of our city and its catchments. Students have been looking beyond conventional technology and exploring the possibilities of Libelium Smart World applications to see how Sensors for Smart Cities and Internet of Things applications and beyond can make our city more sustainable. This includes looking at smart water and agriculture sensor technologies to limit sediment and nutrient run off for catchments right through smart city technology which conserves energy. Students have been challenged to transform our city into the city of the future which finds a balance between economic, environmental and social objectives.
These studies are essential to our students as they will be the leaders of our city in the very near future.
Students learning from Roger Mainwood from TPG Architects the best features of Urban Design for Cairns at JCU city Campus
Teaming up with the Cairns Aquarium has meant students can see all the different fish, flora, insects and reptiles found across all phases of the Cairns Catchment.
Learning outside the classroom is a big part of our catchment inquiry.
Students have been studying some of our unique native fish such as the Jungle perch and why they are vital to our catchments.
Protecting Cairns is about protecting our catchments.
Students have been focusing heavily on introduced species eradication such as tilapia control.