More than 6 000 students in Telemark and Trøndelag show how powerful individual actions can be when it comes to reducing carbon emissions.
Twenty-seven high schools across Norway recently completed a climate emissions challenge sponsored by their local councils and run by local startup Ducky.
The competition, which challenged the students to reduce their CO2e emissions by taking small steps each day, was a huge success.
This championship proved that everyone can have a real effect on climate change, even by doing small things every day.
What did the students do for the climate?
The students competed against each other in teams and saved a whopping 273 471 kg CO2e in just three weeks. That's equivalent to flying 27 times around the earth.
In fact, if all Norwegians copied the top 20 classes in the challenge, the savings would be equivalent to 40% of the country's total annual carbon emissions!
Watch the movie from Skien and Orkdal high school.
How did it work?
The students logged their everyday activities and climate actions using the Ducky web-app. Each action was based on simple things they could do to reduce their carbon footprint, like walking instead of driving or eating less meat.
In total, they logged a staggering 312 175 actions, which showed just how committed the participants were.
«It was a lot of fun working on the project and I'm already looking forward to an even better championship next year,» says Marianne Haukås, of the Department for Transport and Regional Development for Telemark County.
Trøndelag was the first municipality to run the school climate championship in 2017. Inspired by the success of this first contest, the municipality ran another in 2018 which sparked even more interest from the students, teachers, principals, and politicians.
Also, Telemark, encouraged by what had been accomplished in Trøndelag with 1 600 students, decided to join in and compete against Trøndelag school for school,
This year - 2019 - Ducky is inviting all municipalities to join in and compete in Norway's very first National School Climate Championship!
We have to act now
By the time today's students turn 30, we must have reduced global carbon emissions by 45%, a task which seems almost impossible. But if 6 000 students can achieve such incredible emission reductions in just two weeks, think how powerful it would be if we all followed their example. This is when the magic happens!
Teaching by example
During the competition, students and teachers have access to an interdisciplinary teaching kit - The Knowledge Tree. The Knowledge Tree contains instruction, movies, tasks and a climate calculator to give students the crucial knowledge they need to help shape the society they will grow up in.
The combination of the climate championship and the Knowledge Tree kit gives high schools the chance to introduce
«This time Telemark was better than us in engaging both students and teachers in the championship, but we promise to come back even stronger next year!» guarantees Tommy Reinås, Leader of the Climate Council in Trøndelag municipality. «There's also a lot of work happening behind the scenes to push for a National School Climate Championship, and then you'll see us claim our place at the very top,» he says with a smile
I didn't care that much before, but now the climate means a lot to me.
The Climate Champions of 2018!
Telemark certainly beat Trøndelag and had more participants, but Trøndelag improved on their results from last year and had 762 more students joining in!
Encouragement to students ahead of the Championship (video)
The winning ceremony at Hjalmar High School. Here the schools are gathered to accept their prize from County Mayor Sven Tore Løksild.
Sustainable prizes win out
The school's efforts are rewarded with prizes that should encourage even better results in the future.
Prizes for the Best Class include cooking lessons, where students learn to cook delicious climate-friendly food - organized by Future In Our Hands - or gift certificates to a local excursion which is specifically connected to sustainability.
"The level of participation and engagement in our internal challenge was way above our expectations. I really believe the Ducky platform is exactly what we need to demonstrate the positive effect of us all working together."
Climate-related issues can have consequences for a number of sectors, and thus affecting the value of KLP's investments. KLP works toward increasing knowledge and awareness about climate as a financial risk.
Øya Barnehage was the first kindergarten to carry out a Ducky Climate Challenge with its employees. "Our goal was to become aware of our own impact, and it is very clear that everyone has become much more aware!"
"We need to understand that it's about everyone's action. If we manage to engage people to take action in their everyday life, then we can be the spearhead we want to be in the green shift."