Life Lessons – when education and sustainability collide

This article is part of the Sustainability Series, with Tim Jarvis. 


A green future or a green economy, simply cannot happen without green education.

Our future depends on protecting the health and wellbeing of our children and the planet in which they live. Therefore, it is our responsibility to educate future generations with the skills to solve the global environmental problems we face.

Students are central to the future of sustainability. Not only are they inheritors of the planet, but also because of their sheer weight in numbers. Today, nearly 22% of Australia and New Zealand’s population are currently enrolled at school or university. Moreover, students and school children are a major influence on their families, who make up 75% of our population, (Australian Bureau of Statistics; Education Statistics of New Zealand).

So what can we do?

There's a number of practical things that we can do to embed sustainability into our schools and universities - all while reducing our carbon footprint and engaging students in sustainable practices:

  • Establish a school-wide recycling or composting initiative, and educate students on the need to reduce waste generation.
  • Teach students about native plants, animals and how organic food is produced. Have them consider how interconnected life is.
  • Create green campuses by planting more trees and engage students in local nature-based initiatives.
  • Consider campus-wide solar panel and rain-water collection systems.
  • Calculate the carbon footprint of their trip to school and then as a learning exercise, have them come up with ways to reduce this.
  • Nature is also a great place for students to learn, so consider holding some lessons outside of the traditional classroom. In doing so, this can help develop. their problem-solving skills, build emotional resilience and physical fitness.

Case Study: Corbinia Primary School (WA) and their 10 tonne plan:


Sustainability should be a cross-curriculum priority within the Australian and New Zealand curriculums. Teaching sustainability not only builds awareness and knowledge around sustainability issues but also develops students' capacity to think critically, innovate and come up with solutions. Invaluable skills in not just sustainability, but all facets of life.



Sustainability and Steadfast

In April 2016, Tim Jarvis delivered the keynote address at the Steadfast Convention. This prompted a relationship with Steadfast, and saw Jarvis appointed as Steadfast’s new environmental ambassador. The role represents a real statement of intent on the part of Steadfast, as the largest general insurance broker network in Australia & New Zealand, to get on the front foot in advising its strategic partners and brokers on how to minimise environmental impact, improve energy efficiency, reduce waste and adapt to climate change.

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