EPA launches competition asking students to address climate issues with creativity

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a competition to challenge students to investigate the life-cycle of their everyday ‘stuff’.

The competition, ‘The Story of Your Stuff’, asks students to address climate issues with creativity and also awards a special prize for Irish language entries.

Students are encouraged to consider answers to questions of environmental sustainability raised during the pandemic.

The competition is aimed at secondary school students. Entrants are tasked with researching the life-cycle of an everyday item or environmental impact of an activity, and creatively telling its story through a visual medium.

Now in its fifth year, the competition aims to get young people thinking about sustainability, climate action and environmental protection, spread the word among their friends and family and make lasting and impactful changes.

Entrants will be in with a chance to win €500 for themselves and €500 for their school. An additional ‘climate topic prize’ will be awarded to the entry that best addresses and incorporates specific climate considerations, including carbon footprint or greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, to recognise a yearly increase in the number of Irish language entries received to the competition, a special prize for the best project delivered in Irish has been introduced.

‘Ideal project to undertake from home’

Speaking at the launch of the competition, EPA programme manager, Dr. Jonathan Derham, said:

“The EPA’s recently published State of the Environment Report highlights that the overall quality of Ireland’s environment is not what it should be, and the outlook is not optimistic unless we accelerate the implementation of solutions across all sectors and society.

“How and what we consume can directly negatively impact our environment. We need to understand these pressures and work to embrace more sustainable consumption behaviours.

“The Story of Your Stuff offers young people almost limitless opportunities to explore how everyday decisions have far-reaching impacts on our environment.

Moreover, against the backdrop of school closures due to Covid-19, The Story of Your Stuff is an ideal project to undertake from home, and for students to work on remotely with their classmates.

Closing date for entries is Monday, March 8.

This year, the EPA has enlisted the support of aeronautical engineer, citizen scientist-astronaut candidate and award-winning STEM advocate, Dr. Norah Patten, as the competition ambassador.

For a third year, The Story of Your Stuff has partnered with University College Dublin (UCD), which will host a finale event in April.

Last year’s winners were Caoimhe Higgins and Katherine Mooney from St. Andrews College, Booterstown, Dublin, who made a video on the story of soap.

The inaugural climate topic prize winner was Lana Mitchel from Coolmine Community School, Clonsilla, Dublin 15, who created a video on the story of paper.