Sustainability and solutions: An interview with Sri Lankan international student Isuru Peries

Eco-warrior Isuru Peries believes our planet desperately needs more peacemakers and protectors. Currently studying a double-degree in Environmental Sustainability and Public Relations at Swinburne University, the Sri Lankan student wants to do his part in making the world a better place for future generations.

“I like to engage with people and help create awareness in society with regards to global affairs and the importance of preventing mankind from extinction,” Isuru said.

He initially wanted to pursue engineering but his participation in student clubs and his passion for social work was what ultimately led him to choose the degree best suited for him.

“I always loved geography since I was young but growing older I wanted to be more specific and wanted to help more in the wider community”

He began his journey at Trinity College where Isuru helped found the Multi-faith and Multi-Cultural Club at that school. His time at Trinity was a fruitful one; Isuru enjoyed engaging with his school community and sharing his passion for environmental protection. He was rewarded for the latter and was given the Alison Wherman Award at his school, an award designed to celebrate outstanding students in the Environment & Development subject at Trinity. Coupled with his positive attitude towards sustainability, the award, he says, was important to him and served as the driving force that led him choose his current course.

Since leaving Trinity College and moving onto Swinburne University, Isuru has worked with his school’s sustainable community and has even participated in the wider Australian community by taking part in the ‘Stop Adani’ movement, a campaign designed to shift the government’s attitudes from coal-mining to renewable energy.

With a firm belief that “a small act, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform into one huge cycle of actions” he wants others to consider how they can be more mindful of wastage in their everyday lives and think about what part they can play in improving the environment.

“I hope society [can become] more aware of their environment and surrounding, as well as the importance of sustainable development moving forward in the years to come.”

He encourages others to begin making lifestyle changes like him. Isuru has cut down on using plastic materials, recycles and has taken up more walking and bicycle riding in his everyday life in an attempt to reduce pollution.

Asked about what other things people can do to help sustain our environment, Isuru says cutting down on unnecessary water consumption. “Wars will be fought over water, not oil, in the years to come,” he said.

His final piece of advice was especially pointed at international students. He encourages international students to treat Australia as though it were their own country and to be responsible for their actions while they’re here.

“I’ve always believed in a motto called ‘Each one, teach one’ which is about bringing light to the lives of people and the environment. It’s never too late to make a difference, all you need is a will and belief.”

This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via

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