Calling All High School Climate Warriors: Oxford Saïd’s 2024 Climate Change Challenge Now Open

Students at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Oxford’s Saïd Business School is seeking high schoolers with innovative ideas to combat climate change. Courtesy photo

As the world comes off (another) hottest year on record, University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School is calling on high school teams from around the world to enter their ideas, big and small, to fight the climate crisis.

The second annual Burjeel Holdings Oxford Saïd Climate Change Challenge is open to high school students aged 15 to 18. Deadline to enter is September 15.

“The Climate Change Challenge represents our commitment to nurturing the next generation of leaders equipped to tackle the climate crisis head-on,” says Soumitra Dutta, the Peter Moores dean at Oxford Saïd. “By empowering youth to drive change and fostering collaboration across borders, we can create a more sustainable and resilient future for generations to come.”

Soumitra Dutta, dean Oxford Saïd

FINALISTS INVITED TO COP29

The competition launched last year as a partnership between Oxford Saïd, one of Europe’s leading business schools, and Burjeel Holdings, one of the Middle East’s premier healthcare providers. It garnered more than 600 applications from 43 countries.

Winners of last year’s challenge were announced at a special ceremony at COP28 in Dubai.

The team, Aquifer Gardens, from Ryan International School in New Delhi, India, took the top prize for their effective drip irrigation system to address water scarcity. They developed the technology in the school’s Atal Tinkering lab.

Entofarm – a team of high schoolers from South Korea, Indonesia and the United States – won second place with their alternate farming practices to combat insect-borne diseases.

Third place went to ECO2 from Dubai, UAE. They proposed converting CO2 and ammonia directly into fertilizers, promoting access to sustainable, affordable, and effective fertilizers worldwide.

Winners for this year’s competition will be announced this November at COP29 in Azerbaijan.

GATHER YOUR TEAMS

Students teams of three to five members are encouraged to submit their proposals to one of five key areas:

  • Food Security: Addressing the impact of climate change on agricultural production, food distribution, and access to nutritious food.
  • Biodiversity: Protecting and preserving biodiversity in the face of habitat loss, deforestation, and species extinction.
  • Water Scarcity: Developing sustainable solutions to address water scarcity, water pollution, and access to clean drinking water.
  • Air Pollution: Combating air pollution caused by industrial emissions, vehicle exhaust, and deforestation, and its detrimental effects on human health and the environment.
  • Extreme Weather Events: Mitigating the impact of extreme weather events such as floods, tropical cyclones, droughts, and wildfires on communities and ecosystems.

High school educators are also encouraged to submit climate change lesson plans that inspire their students to think creatively about tackling the global crisis.

Ten finalists – five teams from the student category and five individuals from the teacher category – will present their solutions to a distinguished audience during COP29.

ENGAGING STUDENTS IN THE CLIMATE CRISIS

Each month from May 2023 to April 2024 has shattered previous record-high temperatures around the world. It was also the warmest 12-month period on record.

Record warmth is linked to not only more frequent weather events, but more intense storms as well. Think tornadoes, hurricanes, and even blizzards. These climate changes will be even more acutely felt by today’s students and future generations, and it will be up to them – fairly or unfairly – to find solutions.

“This collaboration underscores our commitment to addressing global challenges through education and innovation. We are seeing more extreme weather events like heat waves, droughts, and floods that highlight the urgent need for decisive action against climate change,” says Shamsheer Vayalil, chairman of Burjeel Holdings.

“By engaging the next generation in this critical mission, we can foster the creativity and determination needed to combat the climate crisis effectively.”

Winners of the Climate Challenge will also earn a spot in Oxford Saïd’s Future Climate Innovators Summer School for 2025, a specially-curated program in cutting-edge climate research and innovation. They will also gain access to a vibrant community of influential entrepreneurs and innovation and social impact thought leaders from around the world.

“The Climate Change Challenge provides a platform for students and educators to transform their ideas into actionable solutions. By fostering collaboration, innovation, and knowledge exchange, we can address the climate crisis and create a more sustainable and equitable world for all,” says Juliane Reinecke, Professor of Management Studies at Oxford Saïd.

To learn more or to apply, click here.

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