The 2014 Students of Sustainability Conference, is a national wide conference being held at the Australian National University, Canberra from the 1st to 5th of July. The conference brings together speakers, educators and artists from around Australia and will be five days of celebration, indigenous solidarity, delicious food, networking and camping.
Returning to its birthplace of Canberra to mark its 23rd year, Students of Sustainability (SOS) is an annual, volunteer-organised five day conference and festival bringing together hundreds of students, activists, artists, writers and researchers interested in dealing holistically with questions of environmental and social justice. Through plenaries, workshops, skillshares, performances, presentations, artworks and actions, SOS explores everything from deep theoretical issues to questions of everyday political praxis.
SOS aims to articulate the challenges posed by the present ecological crisis not merely to our energy supplies or regulatory regimes, but to the foundations of our economic and social system; to the stories we tell, how we think, what we create and who we are. It is a unique event with a defining role in the Australian environment movement and in all movements working towards a society that is sustainable because it is just, and just, because it is sustainable.
SOS began in Canberra in 1991 under the name “Students, Science and Sustainability”. This first conference attracted 300 students to discuss matters of sustainability with respect to students and science. Throughout the past twenty-two years, SOS has grown into the primary national environmental conference for students. Held in a different city every year, SOS spreads its unique, life-affirming, change-making energy to the Universities and communities that host it.
Each year students, general community members, Indigenous activists, academics, public intellectuals, environmental educators and social change agents of all stripes and from all over Australia are invited to participate. There is a range of educational, practical and participatory forums, workshops, excursions, entertainment and lots of time drinking chai with new friends.
The vision is to provide a conference that will bring together diverse groups of people to share inspiring and thought-provoking experiences, which encourage positive discussion and action aimed at creating ecological, political, economic and social sustainability in the world. SoS provides an opportunity for us to become empowered with the confidence, practical skills and motivation, required so that humanity can have a healthy relationship with the earth and all of its diverse ecosystems.
Fire place chats, photo courtesy of Flik Schemmer