Young "solar buskers" help crowd-funding push for school solar

It’s clear and right to use the sunlight, according to two young renewable energy advocates from Geelong.
Brothers Matt, 8, and Alex, 10, are the self-styled ‘Solar Buskers’ and have recreated a parody of Will.I.Am’s pop song Bring The Action to share the message that it’s ob-ob-obvious that solar power’s fabulous.
“It started a year back when we heard the song made by Solar Edge (a clean tech company based in Israel) on You Tube,” says Alex. “We were singing in the car with our little sister Eva and did performances for Mum and Dad.”

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The boys in action, Solar Buskers video clip

The idea to make a video really took off when the boy’s school, South Geelong Primary, started a fundraising campaign through renewable energy crowdsourcing platform The People’s Solar to raise $30,000 to install a solar system that would power classrooms.
“We had picnic coming up at school to raise money and we wanted to do busking,” Alex says. “We emailed Solar Edge about how I liked their song and could I have the soundtrack.”
So impressed were Solar Edge with their young fans, they not only sent the backing track but also pledged to supply the school with inverters for their new energy system.
In addition, their performance at the picnic was so popular the principal Leanne Dowling asked Matt and Alex to show it again at a school assembly.
“We changed a few words (because some were rude), but made up all the moves and dances,” says Alex. “Eva was meant to do it with us but chickened out, so she’s just in the video.”
The Solar Buskers video, which can also be seen on You Tube, features an entertaining mix of art, Minecraft footage, bike riding, views of Geelong from a ferris wheel and busking in Bourke Street mall. Other students from South Geelong Primary also make an appearance, asking people to help them go solar.

“We pretty much got the ideas and my Dad filmed it because he’s the video boss,” says Alex.
“We were hoping people would see it and like and give money to our school, cos we really want to get the solar. Our school motto is ‘aim high’ and we’re not going to give up on getting solar panels.”
When asked why they’re so keen to get renewable energy at their school, Alex can prove that he’s been paying attention in classes where the students have been learning about sustainability.
“Ten million tonnes of fossil fuels goes into the air every year, but think of that as elephants going into the air and making it thick,” he explains. “We can see elephants, but not greenhouse gases, so it’s better to think about it that way.”
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South Geelong Primary students in the video

South Geelong Primary School Principal Leanne Dowling says the project has highlighted the importance of sustainability to students.
“This is about the children having the knowledge and information to make good decisions about their future and the future of their children and grandchildren.”
Alex Houlston from The People’s Solar says the money the school would otherwise have spent on electricity over the 20-plus years lifespan of their solar panels will be put back into the community.
“South Geelong Primary School will use the money to build on the garden food program, bike and scooter shelters and cycling proficiency lessons for kids.”
While the school fundraising total has just reached $10,300, the boys say there’s still a way to go and want to encourage people to donate to their cause.
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The boys busking in Bourke Street mall, Melbourne

“If people could give us five cents or fifty cents or a million dollars would be good,” says Alex. “We don’t like fossil fuels around here.”
While that’s not a message the Minerals Council of Australia would like to hear, the boys say that they’d like to continue to sing and make videos about renewable energy when they
‘get big’.
“I’d like to be a YouTuber,” says Matt “Or maybe travel a lot and work with animals.”
Whatever the future may hold for them, their father Mik Aidt, himself a climate change activist, says he’s very proud of Matt and Alex for their artistic imagination.
“It’s been empowering for them, they’ve learned to communicate through music,” says Mik. “The song and video really is a combination of purpose and art.”

If you’d like to catch the Solar Buskers at a live gig, head down to the Steampacket Gardens in Geelong for the Act on Climate Festival market day, 21 November 2015, 10am to 2pm.  You can also donate to the South Geelong Primary School solar system through crowd funding platform The People’s Solar here.

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