TSL 2018 International Schools Essay Competition and Debate

My plan to protect and manage our oceans, seas and marine resources

Global essay competition and debate invites schoolchildren to explore practical ways to conserve and sustainably use our oceans, seas and marine resources (SDG 14)

According to the UN, the world’s oceans – their temperature, chemistry, currents and life – drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. Our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, much of our food, and even the oxygen in the air we breathe, are ultimately provided or regulated by the sea. Throughout history, oceans and seas have been vital conduits for trade and transportation. Yet as a result of human activities, over 30% of marine habitats have now been destroyed, ocean chemistry is changing and more than half of all marine species could face extinction by 2100. Careful management of this essential global resource is a key feature of a sustainable future.

We are inviting children to share their best ideas for conserving and sustainably using the marine environment. The livelihoods and wellbeing of the world’s population, especially Small Island Developing States, are dependent on this great marine environment. Through UN SDG 14 and newly emerging concepts like the ‘blue economy’, countries are encouraged to protect and sustainably manage the oceans and seas while tapping into their economic potential.

The annual TSL essay competition and debate is aimed at primary students (ages 7-11) and secondary students (ages 11-17), supported by Teacher Champions, parents and schools.

One overall Grand Prize winner (plus Teacher Champion and parent) will win a free trip to the TSL 2018 Debates & Awards in the Seychelles (2-7 July, 2018). In addition, medals will be awarded in each category for the top ten essays and for the best individual and group contributions at the Debates.

All students and Teacher Champions who participate in the essay competition are invited to attend the Debates, regardless of whether their essays are singled out for special recognition as Finalists or Honourable Mentions. Please note: The Debate programme and registration details will follow soon.  

Register your School/Teacher Champion now (closes 15 Dec ’17)

Catch the highlights from last year’s competition on Climate Action

Key Dates

Veda Fernandes (Jumeirah Primary School, UAE) collected the 2017 Grand Prize at the TSL International Schools Debates & Awards at Oxford University, while Aninthitha Nath (RN Podar School, India) won 1st Prize in the Secondary Schools category. Around 200 children, teachers and parents from 30 countries participated in the 2017 Debates & Awards.

7 September to 15 December 2017 – School/Teachers register to participate as Teacher Champions.

15 December 2017 at midnight GMT  – Deadline for submission of essays (and Schools Sustainability Challenge videos).

31 January 2018 (2400 GMT) – Announcement of essay competition Finalists and Honourable Mention awardees.

31 May 2018 – Registration deadline for the Schools Debates & Awards (registration is compulsory to attend).

2-7 July 2018 – International Schools Debates, Awards and Visits, Victoria, Seychelles. In addition to the Primary and Secondary School Debates, which will take place on consecutive days, participants will enjoy a special programme of ocean-themed visits and events, including CPD for Teacher Champions in support of the global, UNESCO-led Education for Sustainable Development programme. All participants other than the Grand Prize Winner are responsible for making their own travel arrangements (e.g. flights, transfers, accommodation, subsistence and miscellaneous costs).

Essay Competition

Each student is invited to submit one essay in English, entitled:

Primary students (ages 7-11): ‘My plan to protect and manage our oceans, seas and marine resources’ (max. 400 words)

Secondary students (ages 11-17): ‘My plan to protect and manage our oceans, seas and marine resources’ (max. 600 words)

The top prize winning essays from our 2017 essay competition on climate action were sent to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

An international judging panel, 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 debate. 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.)

Debate

The 2018 Debate themes are:

Primary students (ages 7-11): ‘We can save the world’s oceans, seas and marine resources by 2030’
Secondary students (ages 11-17): ‘This house believes that the targets of UN SDG 14 are achievable’

UN SDG 14 challenges all nations to play their part in the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources. This is a crucial goal with a list of targets not previously considered in the Millennium Development Goals. Most of these targets require a lot of commitment from each country and the collective involvement of stakeholders at different levels of society. On one hand, the targets may appear to be ambitious and require more time to be implemented, and on the other, they may appear to be realistic and achievable within the set time-frame.

Resources for Schools

To assist teachers and students in preparing for the competition and debate, links to supporting online Teacher Resources are provided here as a starting point for their enquiries.

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

 

TSL 2018 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 2018 Debates & Awards in the Seychelles.

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[DOT]org

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