Earth Prize competition opens for submissions from Galway students

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Pictured are 1st, 2nd and 3rd year students from Naas CBS with Peter McGarry. Pic Orla Murray/Coalesce

The Earth Prize has returned for its second year with young people aged between 13 and 19 across Galway being urged to sign up.

The initiative was created by The Earth Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Geneva, Switzerland, founded by Kildare native Peter McGarry.

The 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.

But he said that he saw the passion young people have for the environment during the school strikes and in talking to his 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.”

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.

Students in Ireland have until 30 November to sign up at theearthprize.org.