Edstart logo white

The Earth is still the place for Edstart Achievement Award Winner


After learning about the amount of waste produced by the fashion industry, Sebastian Onate-Henriquez decided to do something about it. He started a business selling sustainable t-shirts using recycled fabrics, designing the prints himself and planting a tree for every shirt sold to lessen the environmental impact even further. He was only six years old when he started.

When he founded his business The Earth is my Place, Sebastian set a goal of planting 1,000 trees. In 2021 when he took out the Entrepreneurship category of the Edstart Achievement Awards he was well on his way with 111 trees planted through Trees for the Future an organisation who plant the trees on his behalf in Africa.

In the three years since, Sebastian and The Earth is my Place have gone from strength to strength. He won the Westpac Youth Impact Challenge in 2022, was a finalist in the Fashion and Junior Entrepreneur categories at the 2024 Australian Small Business Champion Awards and at last count has planted almost 800 trees. His product range now includes hoodies, caps and mugs and the tags he uses are made of ‘seed paper’ - buyers can plant them and grow flowers, promoting natural habitats for bees.

Setting up shop at the markets

Soon after Sebastian’s family moved north from NSW to Queensland last year, they visited the Redcliffe Markets near Brisbane sparking a brainwave in Sebastian. Why not make his own stall? He gave it a go, loved it, and now has a stall at Newport Market too.

The market days are a big effort, but Sebastian loves being able to interact with customers, spread the word about sustainable fashion, and sales are great. He enjoys getting nice feedback from customers, and finds the market inspirational for new designs, getting out his pad and drawing them on the spot!


Recognition from the top

Not satisfied with what was being done to stop pollution and looking for new ways to protect our planet, Sebastian wrote a letter expressing his concerns to the Federal Minister of Environment, Tanya Plibersek. He told her about his journey, his idea to plant more fruit trees to feed people in need and how he thought more should be done to achieve UN Sustainable Development goals.

Not long afterwards, she wrote back. Sebastian said he felt incredibly honoured when he received the letter and it encouraged him to stay on his path and keep working hard for conservation and the environment.

Spreading his message worldwide

Recently Sebastian was approached by the Jane Goodall Institute, an international non-profit environmental conservation organisation with an incredible opportunity to be featured in their new book, ‘Dear World’.


The youngest contributor to the book, Sebastian’s story is shared alongside other environmental leaders from around the world, including unsung heroes and world-renowned activists. ‘Dear World’ aims to spread hope and create positive change for animals, people, and the environment as well as inspiring more young change-makers. Sebastian said he was blown away when he was contacted to appear in the book and hopes his story can show others it doesn’t matter how old you are to make a difference.

Inspiring more young change makers

Looking to the future, Sebastian sees there is still plenty of work to do and wants to keep making a difference. As well as reaching 1,000 trees in the ground, Sebastian is writing his own book, a guide to help other young entrepreneurs get started and make a difference with their business, whether through donating to charity, planting trees or their own unique ways. He plans for it to be a free ebook so more kids can access it, helping to spread his message as far as possible.

Nominations for the 2024 Edstart Achievement Awards open mid-July. If you know a student who deserves to be recognised, keep an eye out!

About Edstart
Edstart is a leading technology and financial services company providing funding and payment services for education. We offer fee management solutions to schools and flexible payment plans to parents to help make school fees easier to manage.

To see how we can help you, visit our main website.

Find out more

Related articles

Edstart Australia Pty Ltd ABN 48 611 024 205 holds Australian credit licence number 485096

Copyright © Edstart Pty Ltd 2024