TSL 2017 International Schools Essay Competition and Debate

Dear Ms. UN Secretary General

Global essay competition and debate invites schoolchildren to explore practical pathways for climate action

sdg_13The Trust for Sustainable Living is pleased to invite schoolchildren around the world to write open letters to the soon-to-be-elected new UN Secretary General, outlining their ideas for practical climate action. Registration is now open and the deadline for entries is 15th December 2016.

The annual essay competition and debate are aimed at primary students (ages 7-11) and secondary students (ages 11-17), supported by Teacher Champions in formal and home schools. One overall Grand Prize Winner (plus Teacher Champion and Parent) will win a free, all-expenses-paid trip to the Debates & Awards in the UK, and Prizes will be awarded to the top five Essay Winners in each category (Primary and Secondary). At the Debates, Prizes will be awarded for the best individual and group contributions. All participating students and Teacher Champions will be invited to attend the Debates & Awards.

Register here

Catch the highlights from the 2016 competition (Are Sustainable Cities Possible?)

Key Dates

J'Nae Peart (Immaculate Conception High School, Jamaica) collected the 2016 Grand Prize for her essay on sustainable cities at the TSL International Schools Debates & Awards in Dubai, while Ella Nijkamp (JESS Jumeirah Primary School, UAE) won 1st Prize in the Primary Schools Category. 200 children, teachers and parents from 17 countries participated in the 2016 Debates & Awards.

J’Nae Peart (Immaculate Conception High School, Jamaica) collected the 2016 Grand Prize for her essay on sustainable cities at the TSL International Schools Debates & Awards in Dubai, while Ella Nijkamp (JESS Jumeirah Primary School, UAE) won 1st Prize in the Primary Schools Category. 200 children, teachers and parents from 17 countries participated in the 2016 Debates & Awards.

1 September 2016 – School/Teacher registration opens

15 December 2016 – Closing date for essay submissions (and Schools Sustainability Challenge video entries)

31 January 2017 – All schools notified of winning Finalists and Honourable Mentions, and invited to attend the Debates & Awards.

3-7 July 2017 – International Schools Debates & Awards, UK. In addition to the Primary and Secondary School Debates, participants will enjoy a special programme of climate action themed educational visits and events, including a series of workshops and exchanges designed to help support Teacher Champions in delivering Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) back at their schools. All participants other than the Grand Prize Winner’s party are responsible for making their own travel arrangements (e.g. flights, transfers, accommodation, subsistence and miscellaneous costs).

Essay Competition

Students are invited to write an essay outlining their thoughts on climate action, in English, as follows:

Primary students (ages 7-11): ‘My Plan for Climate Action’ (max. 400 words)

Secondary students (ages 11-17): ‘We Can Beat Climate Change by 2030’ (max. 600 words)

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (pictured here at Rio+20) received the Winners' essays from the 2012 competition, 'Dear Mr. UN Secretary General...'.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (pictured here at Rio+20) received the Prize Winners’ essays from the 2012 competition, ‘Dear Mr. UN Secretary General…’

An international panel of judges, drawn from experts and educationalists in the field, will select the winning entries for each age category. The essays will be judged for originality and creative thinking and the potential to contribute to a broad-ranging and constructive international dialogue on future pathways for climate action. The winning essays will be published on the competition website.

For each category, schools are invited to submit up to 30 essays online. (These must be submitted by the Teacher Champion, using the login details provided at registration. We regret that paper and emailed copies cannot be accepted, and essays more than 10% over the word limit will be automatically rejected.)

Resources for Schools

#GlobalGoal13To assist teachers and students in preparing for the competition and debate, web links to supporting online resources will be provided.

Teacher Help page

(To access supporting resources from previous competitions, use the menu bar at the upper left hand side of this page.)

TSL 2017 Schools Sustainability Challenge

In addition to the essay competition, the Trust for Sustainable Living runs a parallel international contest called the Schools Sustainability Challenge. Teacher Champions are invited to submit short videos showcasing their schools’ best sustainability projects. Schools are welcome to participate in both contests. The Challenge winners will be announced at the 2017 Debates & Awards in the UK.

Enquiries & Updates

Subscribe to our newsletter (using the form in the sidebar), to receive periodic updates and announcements about the competition.

Email queries should be directed to: schools[AT]livingrainforest.org

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