Belfast team claims honours at global environmental competition
A team of young people from Belfast were awarded second place at a global UN environmental initiative which rewards local, sustainable projects which tackle issues within local communities.
The Volvo Adventure competition, which is held in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), took place in Sweden over four days, bringing together students from as far afield as South Africa, Argentina, the US, Oman, Hungary, Turkey, India and Madagascar.
The teams took part in diverse workshops, before presenting their projects in front of an esteemed panel of judges, including Bernard Combes UNESCO’s Programme Specialist for Education for Sustainable Development.
The Belfast team, who introduced an initiative to ‘Think Globally, Eat Locally’ at their school Grosvenor Grammar, were "shocked" at the announcement as they were aware of the complexity and scale of other projects. However, the team were hailed as an “inspiration” at the 10th annual event. UNEP and Volvo Adventure officials praised them for their simplicity when creating a concept that was both socially aware and completely sustainable.
The committee hope that the Belfast team will invest their £6,000 prize money back into their project and in educating other schools; teaching them the benefits of not just growing their own vegetables and herbs but educating children on the benefits of organic food and reducing global carbon emissions.
The winning team was China, who received $10,000 towards expanding their project reducing the use of disposable chopsticks. Malaysia was placed third with their wide-ranging programme to fight global warming.
1st - China – ‘We DODGE’ The Chinese team decided to work on the reduction of disposable chopsticks that have major negative effects on the environment. They launched a raising awareness campaign in order to influence people to change their habits of using disposable chopsticks. During various exhibitions and roadtrips they sold eco-friendly tableware and used the profits to provide children from socially deprived families with the same tableware. As part of their project, they also created an eco-friendly formula for an enzyme cleaner.
2nd UK - 'Think Globally, Eat Locally’ In an attempt to encourage people’s interest in local produce, the British team launched a campaign educating schoolchildren and their teachers about the negative effects of importing out-of-season foods. They established vegetable and herb gardens and in cooperation with the local canteen are planning to use the school’s produce when it’s grown. As a new Eco initiative, they also developed grow bags to inspire younger children to plant fruit and veg in their own gardens.
3rd Malaysia – ‘Every Step Counts!’ In an effort to fight global warming, the Malaysian team had conducted 10 elaborately planned activities that resulted in lowering CO2 emissions. They made a Banner of Support to raise awareness about the problem among their peers, launched a Save Energy Campaign, organised a Zero Plastic Bag Day, and finally carried out a Recycle Campaign that allowed them to save 17 trees.