News & Media

Taking responsibility for the future

Students on both sides of the globe came together to debate issues facing sustainability and the future of the planet at the International Schools Debates 2013, held in the UK and the Seychelles.

Primary schools winners at the Schools Debate on 26 June 2013

Primary schools winners at the UK Schools Debate on 26 June 2013

Organised by the Living Rainforest and its parent organisation the Trust for Sustainable Living, which promotes the further understanding of sustainable living across the globe, schools from over 65 countries participated in a global essay competition which ran throughout early 2013.

This resulted in over 800 essays being submitted, which were judged to be of an extremely high standard by an international panel of experts and educationalists. The most highly commended from both primary and secondary schools were invited to join in the Debates and Prize Giving Ceremonies in June & July.


Secondary students from ten countries attending the UK Schools Debate at the Living Rainforest (27 June 2013)

Students from countries as far afield as Brazil, South Korea, Nigeria, Kazakhstan and the United Arab Emirates were challenged to weigh up their thoughts on the competition theme, ‘Who is responsible for the future of our planet?’. Focusing on the role of major groups such as governments, businesses, citizens and educators, the children had some unique and passionate views, which were built upon at the Debates.

The 2013 Grand Prize Winner, Cho Su bin from the Republic of Korea, explored the role of the individual taking action, whilst using inspired global examples. The judges were impressed by her use of ‘Green Desert’ imagery and passionate call to action.


Cho Su bin, 2013 Grand Prize Winner, with Karl Hansen (L) and Peter Blair, Chairman of the Trust for Sustainable Living, and Georgia Dunlop, Seychelles Tourism Ambassador (R) at the UK Schools Debate on 27 June 2013 

“If everybody requests the haves to develop in a ‘sustainable way’, with all our voices, we’d have no choice but to make difference. Then, the desert will be green again. And again the Earth will be a plane where humans and nature peacefully live together.” Cho Su bin (SEC English School, Republic of Korea)

Karl Hansen, Director of The Living Rainforest, explained, “We wanted to hear what schoolchildren thought different groups in society should be doing to help solve growing global problems of unsustainable development – and whether people’s rights and responsibilities differ around the world. We were extremely impressed by the range of views received and how insightful the essays were.”

“By highlighting these issues and responsibilities, we hope the children will inspire a global dialogue about taking responsibility for our actions and for the future of our planet,” he said.

Primary and secondary prize winners at the 2013 Schools Debate at the Botanic Garden, Seychelles (1 July 2013)

Primary and secondary prize winners at the Seychelles Schools Debate at the Botanic Garden, Victoria (1 July 2013)

In addition to the overall Grand Prize Winner, there were three top trophy winners in each of the primary & secondary categories. Winners were recognised at the Debates, which in the UK included a tour of the Living Rainforest’s tropical glasshouses, a sumptuous buffet lunch and workshops around the responsibility topic. The second half of the series of Debates took take place in and around Victoria in the Seychelles and featured a unique three-day educational programme hosted by the Seychelles Government.

The winning essays can now be read online here. For pictures of the Debates, please visit our on Facebook page.

Seychelles students planting a Bois Sousouris tree at the Botanic Garden, Victoria, Seychelles

Seychelles students plant a bois sousouris tree at the Botanic Garden, Victoria, Seychelles (1 July 2013)










Past Winners Update … The 2012 Grand Prize Winner, Nardos Tilahun, a 15 year old from New Zealand, attended the Rio+20 summit with The Living Rainforest. The 2012 and 2013 Finalist, Kehkashan Basu, a 13 year old from Dubai, now chairs the UN Major Group for Children and Youth and serves as Youth Advisor to the World Future Council.


Leave a Reply

Anti-Spam Quiz:

Entry Details


This entry was posted on Thursday, July 11th, 2013 at 11:31 am and is filed under News.

You can skip to the end and leave a comment.

Subscribe to our newsletters

About our charity

Learn more about the work done by The Trust for Sustainable Living... Read more