Second-level students from across Ireland are asked to consider the global consequences of local actions as the EPA launches The Story of Your Stuff competition 2022. The competition asks students to think about the wider environmental impact of their everyday decisions. It asks students to research the life cycle and environmental impact of an everyday item – such as their toothbrush – or everyday activity – such as eating their lunch, and to present their findings in a creative way.
Now in its sixth year, The Story of Your Stuff has the empowerment of students at its core, encouraging young people to realise the influence they can have on their friends and family when it comes to making environmentally responsible consumer choices. With its focus on sustainability, waste management, climate action and environmental protection, the competition asks young people to think, talk and make small changes that can have far-reaching impacts.
Entrants visually tell the environmental story of their ‘stuff’ through a creative medium of their choice (including video, animation, infographics, photography, etc.). They are then 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, and The Story of Your Stuff competition asks young people how they, and those closest to them, can act in a more environmentally friendly way. Now more than ever, we cannot lose sight of our power as individuals to bring about change, and 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.
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.
Students can access resources from the EPA website, particularly the Ireland’s Environment and Environment and You sections while researching their topics. These resources will help students to better understand the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind us needing to change our waste systems, the way we use energy and the ways that we get around, as well as wider environmental concerns.”
Aeronautical engineer, citizen scientist-astronaut candidate and award-winning STEM advocate, Dr Norah Patten returns 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 overall winner was Robert Urquhart from Presentation College Athenry in Galway for his very topical video ‘Story of Disposable Face Masks’. Oonagh Hales from John the Baptist Community School, Co. Limerick was awarded the climate topic prize for her entry ‘The Story of Plastic Cutlery’, while the inaugural Irish-language prize was awarded to Rebecca Ni Challanain and Kate Ni Mhathuna from Gaelcholaiste Charraig Ui Leighin, Carrigaline, Co. Cork for their entry, ‘Scéal Lipéad Crochadh’ which looked at clothing labels.
Competition guidelines and tips are available at www.thestoryofyourstuff.ie. The deadline for entries is Monday, 7th March 2021.