CERES Education Interview with Jason Kimberley
Founder and CEO, Cool Australia
1. How did you first get started with environmental education?
In 2005 I returned from an expedition to Antarctica and began writing a book about my adventures there. While researching this book I became aware of what a terrible job we are doing as custodians of our planet and decided that I wanted to do something about this. Education seemed to be the perfect place to begin to ensure that the next generations of decision makers would not make the same mistakes as the current ones are making.
2. What have been the biggest highlights of your journey so far?
Our organisation Cool Australia has won awards which has been great fun for the team to get recognised. Best highlights are enthusiastic crowds at schools during talks and presentations, meeting like minded people who are working just as hard as your are and are brilliant collaborators and coming into the office every day to work with a happy, smart and dedicated team.
3. What has been the biggest obstacle? How did you/are you overcoming it?
Funding. To start with, me and my family were the major funders, but as my good wife reminded me on occasion – ‘this is not sustainable.’ We have had several private funders support Cool Australia over the past 6 years but our big breakthrough came in 2012 when Bendigo Bank became our ‘Coolest Partner.’ They are forward thinking, energetic partners and we are working on a long term deal with them.
4. What future plans or goals are you excited about?
Sharing our free curriculum aligned materials with all teachers and students across Australia. We reached 180,000 students in 2013 and are aiming higher for this year. Enviroweek 2014 will be held in the last week of August 24th-30th and we are expecting more than 250,000 students to participate.
5. What advice would you offer to someone wanting to begin a sustainability program at their school or organisation?
Persistence and don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. There will be setbacks and there will be disappointments but use these as learning tools to get smarter and stronger. Keep your sense of humour and smile at every new challenge with the confidence that these challenges will soon turn into achievements.
Jason was the winner of the VAEE Environmental and Sustainability Educator of the Year 2012 award. Nominations are currently open for the 2013 award. Applications close February 24th, 2014. Visit our Competitions and Awards section for more information.
CERES Education would like to thank Jason for sharing his story. You can read more about Cool Australia at: