Sustainability is the Future, and only Education has the Solution

Sudeshna Roy
Jan 11 · 8 min read
Photo by Vasily Koloda on Unsplash

Through the blazing fire in Australia, the devastating flood in Indonesia and the “rumor” of a potential 3rd World War hovering around; 2020 issued a warning for the entire human race, to pause, to reflect and to change the course of their action before it’s too late to turn back.

Today mankind has progressed a lot more than it was possible to imagine 200 years ago. We now have driver-less cars, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Smart Phones, Augmented Reality, Multi-use Space Rockets, Genetic Engineering, the wondrous connectivity of the Internet and social media among many more.

With disruptive innovations, our lives have become easier, yet living has become more and more complicated. We have successfully paved our way to the moon, yet we are mindlessly destroying our planet in every possible way.

Where Are We Now?

The world is burning; and we are not talking about the wildfires alone. The planet is also burning with rage, wars, pollution, inflexibility and insensitivity of human beings.

The recent wildfire in Australia, even though heartbreaking, is not an isolated event.

According to NASA, global temperature has increased by 1.9℉ since 1880, sea levels are rising by 3.3 millimeters per year, we are losing Arctic ice by minimum of 12.8% per decade, mega storms like Hurricane Harvey have gone up from occurring once every 100 years to once every 16 years. 2016 was the hottest year on record. The nature is altering itself at a faster rate as a result of severe climate change and for years scientists are trying to caution us against that.

The uncertainty of humankind looms not only around climate change, but also in rising socio-political imbalances. The gradually rising conflicts around the world in recent years shows that progress doesn’t ensure peace.

Continual surge in conflicts in recent years makes us question the survival of human civilization

Due to our ignorance and the lack of proper communication, the media and political parties are being able to fulfil their agendas by creating unrest. Issues of real importance are being over-shadowed by meaningless controversies and violence, because we do not know what to ask, whom to talk to in order to resolve our problems anymore.

As if these weren’t enough, we are faced with the challenge of rising population and unemployment.

India is home to almost 1/5th of the world’s young population, but the unemployment rate of India’s educated youth (secondary and above) was 11.4% in 2019, which is almost double of the total unemployment rate.

The major cause of the high unemployment rate among India’s youth is lack of skill. This is highly alarming as the numbers clearly show that certificates are not enough to ensure job anymore in 21st century.

The second reason for higher unemployment rate is automation. The number of industrial robots are rising by 14% each year. By 2022, the total task hours completed by humans will drop by 13%. And this is only the beginning.

Where Are We Headed?

According to UN report by 2030, half of the world’s population will be living in high water stress areas, water scarcity and desertification will displace up to between 24 million and 700 million people, as a result of climate change.

“Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change.” — Dr. Rajendra K Pachauri, Chair IPCC

Another crisis looming over mankind, is the threat from technology.

Man created robots, but forgot to update themselves.

How To Change?

“It’s unrealistic to think that the future of humanity can be achieved only on the basis of prayer, what we need is to take action.” — Dalai Lama

However, taking action is not enough on its own. It’s time to look for avenues and opportunities where in order to prosper as a civilization, we don’t have to sacrifice nature. We must learn to coexist with each other as well as with other species and the Earth itself.

Advancement in science and technology has made people able to create atom bombs, artificial black hole and AIs.

If we are motivated by self interest and lack of consideration for others, we will soon end up digging our own graves.

Now, we must focus on rebuilding the ecosystem that we have destroyed over the last few decades.

Where To Start?

“Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.” — Kofi Annan

Over the last 100 years, we have learned and applied knowledge enough, it’s time to learn values of cooperation, collaboration and consideration.

The Need For Change In Education Industry

School classrooms are one of the earliest social structures that children find themselves to be a part of. If we are to teach our future generation how to coexist, it must start from school level itself.

The ever increasing gap between graduating students and employed graduates is prompting us to look into the root cause of such alarming statistics.

The job market is changing more rapidly than our educational curriculum is able to grasp.

Today the primary focus of the education system should be towards cultivating skill sets among students that will make them part of a sustainable workforce that is highly adaptable to the changing dynamics of the job market.

And the best way to do that is by bringing technological disruption in education industry, so that the students become well aware of what to expect when they are out of school.

Technology is not an event, it’s just part of the everyday learning.

How To Stand The Test Of Time

The skills that were required after 3rd industrial revolution are no longer sufficient. Jobs now require different skills, something that cannot be replaced with robots or AI.

Today, in order to be an alpha employee, one must master critical thinking, emotional intelligence, hone their ability to come up with creative solutions, be willing and capable to take leadership roles.

Why We Need To Have Collaborative Classrooms In Schools

The notion of pursuing self interest begins from as early as school days. It’s sad but true. The traditional model of classroom teaches us how to become the best among many.

This creates an environment of competition in classrooms. Students learn to get ahead, achieve faster, be more than the rest, no matter what.

Time has come for us to realize that this model is no longer working. The individual need to be better has resulted in greed and devastation for the masses.

Self interest has surpassed the collective need to sustain what we have created over hundreds and thousands of years.

The young minds of the future generation deserve to learn how to collaborate and not compete with each other to succeed. In order for the human species to survive the test of time we must learn to move forward together.

Should We Remain Hopeful?

“There is hope in people, not in society, not in systems, but in you and me” — Jiddu Krishnamurti

Today, thanks to social media and the omnipresence of the internet, it’s easier to find information, reach the masses, share our ideas, collaborate and create an impact.

One such notable recent example has been Team Trees.

Team Trees is a collaborative fundraiser group started by two well known YouTubers Mr. Beast (Jimmy Donaldson) and Mark Rober in October, 2019, that intended to raise money through crowdfunding. The group aimed to raise $20 million before 2020 and partnered with Arbor Day Foundation, a tree planting organization that pledges to plant one tree for every Dollar donated.

In less than two months since starting the campaign, Team Trees was able to raise more than $20 million by the end of December, 2019.

The plantation has already begun and estimated to be completed before December, 2022.

The campaign generated more than 4.5 billion views on various social media platforms, garnered participation from big corporations including Tesla, Twitter, Salesforce, Shopify etc as well as millions of common people worldwide and is said to be the largest collaborative online campaign till date.

Success of campaigns like this makes us hopeful of a better future and shows that together we can indeed make this world a better place.

We, at illumnus, also believe in taking small steps in the right direction and that inspired us to start a Green Diwali campaign last year, where we collaborated with several schools and educators to spread the awareness on climate change and need for planting more trees.

Education is not limited to books. We must teach in a way that creates value, develops characters and gives the society responsible citizens of the future.

As we’ve realized by now that knowledge without accountability is disastrous for this planet. We need an education system that creates a generation that is based on inclusiveness, participation and solutions.

illumnus is trying to bring technology and collaboration, the two pillars of 21st century education, into traditional classrooms in the easiest and most convenient way possible. Because we believe that the best time to create future is now.


The classroom collaboration Platform for shared learning.

Sudeshna Roy

Written by

Creator of “The Redefined Self” where I share insights on how to live a more meaningful life.



The classroom collaboration Platform for shared learning.

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