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Students step up to climate change challenge with ‘inspirational’ eco-projects

The Year 9 Loyal Leaders team from Engineering University Technical College Northern Lincolnshire created a wind turbine-themed computer game aimed at children aged 8-14.

Students across the Humber have come forward with their own innovative ideas to help tackle the climate crisis as part of a campaign to unite the region in the drive to net zero.

Children and young people across the region aged between 11-18 were invited to plan and deliver their own eco-project for The Waterline Student Challenge 2021.

Dozens of teams from schools and colleges across Hull, the East Riding, North and North East Lincolnshire accepted the challenge and submitted their sustainable solutions, which judges described as “inspirational”.

Projects ranged from apps and games to new product ideas and presentations, addressing issues around recycling, minimising food waste, and water management.

The new competition, sponsored by SSE Thermal, is part of Marketing Humber’s The Waterline campaign to bring together partners from the worlds of industry, academia and research and development to pioneer decarbonisation solutions.

A shortlist of 24 entries has now been narrowed down to six finalist teams, who will all present their ideas at this month’s flagship The Waterline Summit 2021.

The overall competition winners will be taken on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the globally critical COP26 conference with world leaders in Glasgow in November.

The six finalist teams are:

  • Animal Water Savers, Bishop Burton College – The team created a step-by-step plan to reduce water usage on the college’s Animal Management Unit and more widely across campus. They also raised awareness around the college with information posters.
  • Eco-Stepper Co, Malet Lambert School – They came up with the concept of an app that aims to persuade people to walk or cycle rather than drive by rewarding them for not using a vehicle. It is designed to help reduce emissions and improve people’s health.
  • RDUTC’s Sustainability Crew, Ron Dearing University Technical College – The team researched how much carbon emissions can be reduced by cycling to school instead of driving and created a carbon calculator to show users the impact they are having on the environment. Their findings were delivered in a presentation to all year 10 students at the school.
  • Team OEI, Malet Lambert School – The team came up with a project to compress plastics which can’t be effectively recycled into bricks and blocks to defend the eroding coastline and potentially be used in construction.
  • Team Wilberforce, Wilberforce College – Team Wilberforce organised a ‘Zero Carbon Day’ for all students and staff and are working to implement policy changes to help create a genuinely green college.
  • Year 9 Loyal Leaders, Engineering University Technical College Northern Lincolnshire – Year 9 Loyal Leaders created a wind turbine-themed computer game aimed at children aged 8-14. The game is designed to be shown and played in schools to highlight the benefits of wind power.

In addition to the six finalists, Bishop Burton College student Emily Fitchett was recognised with a special Arts and Creativity Award for her sculpture design of a lavender plant and bees. Emily designed the sculpture with a view to positioning it on the college campus surrounded by flowers.

Each of the finalists will receive a behind the scenes VIP experience with a supporting business, providing an invaluable insight into the career opportunities available to them with a sustainable company committed to protecting the environment, along with £500 per team.

Along with the incredible trip to COP26, the overall winners, who will be announced by Brigg and Goole MP Andrew Percy on the launch day of The Waterline Summit on Monday, October 18, will also receive £2,000 to support their school or college on its eco journey.

Dr Diana Taylor, Managing Director of Marketing Humber, said: “We were blown away by the quality of entries we received, which were truly amazing.

“The ideas brought forward by the teams were innovative but also practical and applicable to both business and everyday life, so have the potential to help drive real change.

“I’d encourage other schools, colleges and community groups across the Humber to join the opening day of The Waterline Summit 2021 online to see these entries for themselves, which I’m sure will inspire many more students to come up with their own ideas and take part next year.”

The Waterline Student Challenge was judged by representatives from SSE Thermal, KCOM, Associated British Ports (ABP), Yorkshire Water, Ørsted, and Willerby, all of which will be providing a behind the scenes trip for a finalist team, as well as guest judges from the University of Hull and Zero Carbon Humber.

Susan Allan, Group Finance Director for Willerby, was among the judges. She said: “The standard of entries was genuinely inspirational, with many examples of teams already making a difference by working together and having an open, positive mindset.”

Fellow judge Mark Blenkinsop, Head of Estates at KCOM, said: “It was a privilege to see the innovative ideas and concepts students in this region have to help tackle the climate crisis. They should all be very proud.”

The Waterline Summit, featuring high-profile speakers including green energy entrepreneur Dale Vince, astronaut Dr Chris Boshuizen, and electric vehicle adventurer Chris Ramsey, will link the Humber to COP26.

Held over five days from October 18-22, the hybrid of in-person panel discussions and events and immersive virtual experiences will position the region as central to the worldwide climate emergency.

Contributors to The Waterline Summit will be taking its key messages to COP26 and Marketing Humber will also be hosting an online platform throughout the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, providing resources, podcasts, interviews and streamed events.

The Waterline Summit 2021 is supported by its Event Partners the University of Hull, Yorkshire Water, Yorkshire Energy Park and Ørsted, as well as its COP26 Partner, Zero Carbon Humber, and will run from October 18-22.