The Earth Prize, a global €200,000 environmental sustainability competition for 13-to-19-year-old students, founded by Irishman Peter McGarry, has returned for its second year, and young people across Wicklow are being urged to sign up.
The initiative was created by The Earth Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Geneva, Switzerland, founded by Kildare native Peter McGarry. The Irish father of four was inspired by his own children’s enthusiasm for the environment, in particular seeing his daughter taking part in the school strikes for climate. Combining this passion with his experience in global financial markets McGarry established The Earth Prize to create a force for positive environmental change.
The competition rewards teams whose projects have potential to address the environmental problems facing societies across the globe, with the winning team receiving a €100,000 prize to be split between the team members and their school, while the three runner-up teams receive €25,000.
The competition also provides students with access to 40 mentors from top universities, and with exclusive video-based learning content covering key environmental topics and featuring nine young international environmental entrepreneurs.
Teachers are also in with a chance to be recognized as the Educator of the Year with an award of €10,000.
Speaking about the inspiration for The Earth Prize, Peter McGarry, Founder of The Earth Foundation said:
“It can be easy to feel a sense of resignation about climate change and that there is nothing we can do, especially for young people who can have so little control over the decisions being made around them. Yet, I saw the passion young people have for the environment during the school strikes and in talking to my own daughter.
“I knew that through mentoring and access to the right resources, we could take that enthusiasm and channel it to come up with sustainability solutions that can make a difference. The Earth Prize is all about giving young people access to those resources so they can have a positive impact on the world around them.”
CEO of The Earth Foundation, Angela McCarthy said:
“The Earth Prize is all about bringing youth’s unrestricted thinking to the table, inspiring them, helping them collaborate and build networks, and ultimately, turn great ideas into action. We’ve created opportunities for students with a passion for climate change to engage with world-renowned Ambassadors for the environment and showcase their solutions to a global audience.”
Last year, 516 schools across 114 countries and territories took part in the competition. The winning team in Vietnam came up with a fully biodegradable sanitary pad made out of dragon fruit peels – the “Adorbsy pad” – which should degrade in only 6 to 8 months, as opposed to the widely used plastic ones which take up to 800 years to decompose, and clog landfills.
Students in Ireland have until 30th November to sign up at www.theearthprize.org.