Your power to act: why the international education sector must take action on climate change


Are we really empowering a new generation if we fail to use our power and reach to tackle this fundamental challenge to our planet? Younger people, especially in the regions we draw international students from are disproportionately vulnerable to the effects of global warming and increasingly they demand action.  

Fixing the complex global challenge that is climate change will take collective effort by people who are highly skilled across a range of disciplines and able to work across national borders – who does that sound like if not the people we educate? We have an obligation to do so much more; the good news is that we can do more as part of our core business; educating and helping students develop valuable skills like creative problem solving. 

The window of time to avert catastrophic change is closing fast; we have perhaps 10 years to act. Ask yourself if we can wait.

Take-home message:

The international sector is failing a new generation of students if we don't do more to raise awareness of the critical need to tackle climate change and develop students' ability to do so. This doesn't have to be at the expense of core business; it can become part of it.

Key interest area: Business development and strategy (BD&S) 

Other KIAs: Multiple interest areas (MULTI)

Ms Ailsa Lamont

Pomegranate Global

Ailsa Lamont has almost 30 years of experience in international relations and capacity building, including 20 years in international education. She founded Pomegranate Global in 2016, a company dedicated to guiding the education sector to do more to tackle environmental and social issues. In 2017, Ailsa trained as a Climate Reality Leader in Pittsburgh, US, with The Climate Reality Project, former US Vice-President Al Gore’s foundation to catalyse a global solution to the climate crisis. She has served as Pro Vice-Chancellor International and Social Innovation at CQUniversity Australia, where she led the university to become the first Australian institution recognised as a Changemaker Campus by the Ashoka U global network of universities. She has also held positions as Executive Director International at RMIT University, and International Director at James Cook University. Before joining the international education sector, Ailsa had a varied career in economic development, trade promotion, and capacity building in Eastern and Western Europe, and ran her own interpreting and translating business. She brings personal experience to her work, having been an international student in the USSR, Germany and Papua New Guinea.