Climate Week 2013

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Founder of Climate Week Kevin Steele explains how the initiative provides a platform for teachers to engage pupils to take action on climate change. He also introduces the popular Climate Week Challenge.

Climate Week takes place from March 4 to 10 next year. Participation is free and schools across the UK are being encouraged to run any kind of event or celebration focusing on positive solutions to climate change. 

This is the third annual Climate Week campaign. The initiative was launched in 2011 with the aim of creating a national occasion that renews our confidence and ambition to combat climate change and which empowers people to act.

Climate Week is already Britain’s biggest environmental campaign. Last year, more than half a million people attended around 3,000 events across the UK that showcased the positive solutions to climate change. These events ranged from tree-planting days to walk-to-school schemes, conferences, film screenings and sustainable fashion shows.

As part of Climate Week, the Climate Week Challenge is Britain’s biggest environmental competition, which last year saw more than 130,000 pupils working in teams to design innovative, practical solutions to the challenge “Green Your Space: Develop an idea to change a place you know and make it better for the environment”.

The Challenge has to be completed to a deadline and develops skills of creativity, innovation, practical thinking, communication, time-management and teamwork. Teachers can choose to take pupils off timetable for the whole day to take part in the Climate Week Challenge – entries from the “one day” event will be judged by a celebrity panel. 

Or pupils can take part in the “one hour” challenge – this competition can be judged within the school setting. Both competitions aim to engage young people with tackling climate change and promote a more sustainable lifestyle.

There is a winner in each of the eight age categories, and last year the quality of the entries was extremely high – the judges, including Spooks star Sophia Myles, wildlife presenter Michaela Strachan and BBC’s Springwatch host Kate Humble, had an extremely difficult time deciding on the final winners. 

AS level students from Prince Henry’s Grammar in Otley were winners in the 16-plus category. Their design was for a new style of “eco-fridge” using the latest thermo-acoustic technology that could be installed in their local supermarkets. 

The students visited a fridge manufacturing plant in Birmingham who supplies directly to companies including Tesco. They were given a tour around the factory before pitching their idea to industry leaders. 

Bryony Barlow, one of the team members, said: “We presented to professionals and pitched our idea, not many people can say they’ve done that! I’m definitely going to look into engineering.”

Danielle Shaw, head of product design at Prince Henry’s, added: “The students’ eco-fridge design is such a simple yet effective solution to managing energy usage. The Climate Week Challenge highlights the potential of our young people to lead the way in tackling climate change, and enables them to demonstrate their enterprise and creativity.”

We need the next generation to be involved in action on climate change as they are the ones who will bear the brunt of its impact. The ideas young people come up with show that they already have the drive and the innovation necessary to make a difference.

  • Kevin Steele is CEO and founder of Climate Week.

Further information
To take part in this year’s Climate Week, register your school’s events on the website. For more information on the initiative, including the Climate Week Challenge, visit www.climateweek.com/challenge or email challenge@climateweek.com

 


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