He was educated in Cambridge, UK (Tripos in Natural Science) and went on to do post graduate work in development communication at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Sarabhai is the founder director of the Centre for Environment Education headquartered in Ahmedabad, with 40 offices across India. He is also the chairman of the Ambalal Sarabhai Enterprises, the pharmaceutical company which was set up by his grandfather Ambalal Sarabhai. He is closely involved in the activities of the Nehru Foundation for Development, of VIKSAT and Ahmedabad's Vikram Sarabhai Community Science Centre. Sarabhai is also a trustee of the Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust, and the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL).
Sarabhai has served on many committees set up by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Ministry of Human Resource Development of the Government of India, primarily focusing on the greening of India's formal education system, and initiatives for biodiversity education. He is a member of the Earth Charter International Council. He was also part of the delegations which represented India at the Earth Summit (1992) in Rio and the Earth Summit 2002 in Johannesburg. He was also instrumental in initiating the South and Southeast Asian Network for Environment Education (SASEANEE). He is currently vice chair of the Indian National Commission for the International Union Conservation of Nature (IUCN). He also led the first international conference on the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development in Ahmedabad in 2005, and he is a member of the UNESCO Reference Group for DESD and the International Steering Committee for the end of the Decade Conference.
Mr Kartikeya Sarabhai is the co-chair of the Global Citizenship Working Group of the Learning Metrics Task Force 2.0 convened by the Centre for Universal Education at Brookings Institution to examine how global citizenship education is measured and make recommendations for new ways of assessing learning. He is the chair-holder of the UNESCO Chair on Education for Sustainable Development and the Human Habitat. He is the editor of the Journal of Education for Sustainable Development, published by SAGE, and has written and spoken extensively on environment, education and sustainable development related subjects in national and international fora.
He received the Tree of Learning Award (1998) from the IUCN in appreciation of his contributions to the field of environmental education and communication. The Indian Institute of Human Rights has presented him with the World Human Rights Promotion Award (2005). In 2012 he was conferred the Padma Shri award for his work in Environmental Education by the President of India. • In 2013, he was given the Olive Green Crusader award by IAA (International Advertising Association) for his contribution in the field of environmental education and education for sustainable development.
The Science Aur Kainat Society of India and its National Award Committee honoured him with the Sir C.V. Raman Memorial Award in the field of science and technology popularization & innovation in May 2014.
More recently, Kartikeya Sarabhai has been in the news for restructuring the ailing Ambalal Sarabhai Enterprises.
In 1968, Kartikeya married Rajshree Parekh. They have two sons Mohal (born 1970) and Samvit(born 1976), Mohal married Christina Sullivan and they have two children Cahira (born 2006) and Kavan (born 2011). Samvit married Ritu Bhatt and they have a daughter Anvita (born 2009).
Although close and staying in a joint family, Kartikeya and Rajshree no longer live together as a couple.
- Website of the Centre for Environment Education
- International Conference on Environment Education 2007
- Journal of Education for Sustainable Development
- The Earth Charter Initiative
- Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India