Sustainable education

European University Institute. Licensed under Creative Commons.

European University Institute. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Matt Wright-Simon from Ecocreative, who helped us with our Biodiversity Brief newsletter, has written an interesting article about sustainability in universities.

It seems that students are increasingly considering level of sustainability when choosing a university, in addition to other aspects such as academic performance and on- and off-campus sporting and social activities.

The University of Indonesia has provided a helpful Green Metric page, that ranks world universities according to a variety of environmental metrics, allowing students to find a university that suits their preferences. Sadly, the two Australian universities that are listed don’t rank too well, and most don’t appear at all.

Given that tertiary education is Australia’s third major export, after mining and agriculture, it would be an exceptionally good idea for Australian universities to consider their own sustainability. And since mining removes finite resources and often leaves environmental devastation, while agriculture faces difficulties due to soil erosion, water depletion, and climate change, it makes sense for the country to put extra effort into a sector that removes nothing and depletes and destroys nothing.

An added bonus of this trend is that many of today’s university students are tomorrow’s government and business leaders. Which means that, as these people graduate and work their way up the ladders, they may inculcate their organisations with their own sustainable values.

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