Making ‘stuff’ decisions
“Now more than ever, we can’t lose sight of our power as individuals to bring about change.”
The inspiring words of Stephen Fennell of Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which is calling on second-level students from across Ireland to consider the global consequences of local actions through its competition The Story of Your Stuff.
The competition asks students to think about the wider environmental impact of their everyday decisions by researching the life cycle and environmental impact of an everyday items like a toothbrush or an everyday activity like eating lunch. Now it its sixth year, The Story of Your Stuff holds the empowerment of students at its core and strives to encourage young people to realise the influence they can have on their friends and family when it comes to making environmentally responsible consumer choices.
Entrants will visually tell the environmental story of their “stuff” through a creative medium of their choice which can include video, animation, infographics, photography and more.
Students taking part are in with a chance to win €500 for themselves and €500 for their school. There is also a special climate topic prize as well as a prize for the best Irish language entry.
Speaking at the launch of the competition, the EPA’s Stephen Fennell said: “Whether using disposable coffee cups, or taking the car instead of walking, or using public transport, these short-term conveniences often are not environmentally sustainable. Our individual actions have lasting impacts. This competition instils that message among young people. By presenting their findings in a creative way, students will communicate the benefit of making environmentally conscious decisions and hopefully empower others to reflect on their own consumption habits.”
Aeronautical engineer, citizen scientist-astronaut candidate and award-winning STEM advocate, Dr Norah Patten will return as competition ambassador for 2022.
Dr Patten said: “The Story of Your Stuff is a fantastic initiative, and I am delighted to take on the role of competition ambassador for a second year. Its focus on thinking, talking, and making changes to consumption habits, highlights to students the impact they have as individuals on our environment and climate change. It also allows them to develop important skills that they will use throughout their studies and into the future. I hope The Story of Your Stuff can be an entry point into environmental research and science communication for a new generation.”
Last year’s inaugural Irish-language prize was awarded to Cork students Rebecca Ni Challanain and Kate Ni Mhathuna from Gaelcholaiste Charraig Ui Leighin in Carrigaline for their entry, Scéal Lipéad Crochadh which looked at clothing labels.
Competition guidelines and tips are available at thestoryofyourstuff.ie and the deadline for entries is 7 March.
Last year’s overall winner was Robert Urquhart from Presentation College Athenry in Galway for his very topical video Story of Disposable Face Masks.