Pupils think it's educational and fun to reduce climate emissions!
Ducky Success Story | Alcoa Climate Championship
Alcoa Climate Championship 2019
County: Agder and Nordland, Norway
Number of participants: 564
When:29th of April to 13th of May 2019
Written by Sigrid Hungnes, Project Manager for Green Flag in the FEE Norway Foundation.
We at FEE Norway and the Green Flag (environmental certification for schools and kindergartens) ran the Alcoa Climate Championship 2019 thanks to fundings from the Alcoa Foundation.
Over two weeks, pupils at 7 high schools from two counties, Agder and Nordland, reduced CO2e-emissions equivalent to a passenger airplane flying 3 times around the world.
But that’s not all. Through the climate championship, pupils gained insight into how they could easily reduce their climate emissions, and both pupils and teachers got to experience that small choices in everyday life can lead to major changes.
Repeats the success in 2020 and invites schools to compete in the National School Championship
We at FEE Norway (Green Flag) repeats the success and can again, with the support from the Alcoa Foundation, invite 23 high schools to participate in a new climate championship through the National School Championship on January 21st 2020.
“The competitive instinct helped establish a bond between pupils and teachers, and together find out what can be done to get the most points possible. As the championship lasted for two weeks – the awareness was sharpened. All the repetitions meant that I still today, half a year later, think about the environmental consequences of the choices I make from day to day,” says Børge Tjørn, Teacher at Eilert Sundt High School.
What did the pupils think?
“I think many have become aware of the things that can be done to reduce their own climate emissions, and that it’s not necessarily big changes,” says pupil Bertine Midtun to the newspaper Lister.
“All we did were simple things like cycling to school, or having a meat-free day,” says pupil Stian Nygård to the newspaper Lister.
“I think this has been educational for the pupils, especially now that taking care of the planet is more important than ever,” says the Mayor of Farsund, Arnt Abrahamsen to the newspaper Lister.
Involves teachers and school management
Engaging and involving teachers and school management was an important part of increasing pupil engagement and motivation. Teachers and the school management promoted the championship and encouraged the pupils to participate, creating a clear common identity at the school around the championship.
We noticed that having staff teams at the school greatly enhanced the pupils’ engagement. This created an extra element of competition allowing pupils to compete with their own teachers. In the Alcoa Climate Championship 2019, it was the schools with most active staff teams that reduced the most CO2e emissions on average per pupil.
Our belief is that a kick-off is necessary to provide pupils with the information and motivation needed to get started. The schools set aside anything from 20 to 30 minutes. This gave us enough time to give pupils and teachers the information they needed to run a successful championship.
Ducky had made a very nice PowerPoint-presentation for us which included infographics and films that visualized what we wanted to convey to the school.
We recommend having two people on a kick-off who can present two perspectives (one discussing the importance of climate action, and the other providing information regarding details of the implementation of the climate championship). We were fortunate enough to have the help of representatives from Alcoa and Natur and Ungdom who gave speeches on climate change and the importance of climate action in everyday life. This was a very nice way to put the Alcoa Climate Championship in a bigger context, before the pupils were given information on practical details surrounding the implementation of the championship.
When you’re two, it’s also easier to document the kick-off by taking pictures and gathering quotes from teachers and pupils that can be used for press releases later. The schools usually have enough to do after you leave, so it’s important to make good use of the time they have allocated to you.
How to arrange a kick-off in advance of a Climate Championship
We created a relatively simple kick-off recipe where we split the presentation into four parts:
Part 1 ( 1-2 minutes)
Get someone from the school management or a teacher to introduce you and the championship by saying a few words to the pupils about why the school has signed up and why the school thinks this is important (1-2 minutes). We saw this as necessary to create a school community during the championship.
Part 2 ( about 10 minutes )
If you have the opportunity, we encourage you to invite a representative from an environmental organization or others you work with who can tell pupils about the importance of climate action in everyday life.
Part 3 ( 15 minutes )
Present the championship. Who organizes the championship, why do they do it and how should it be implemented? Here, all practical details about the climate championship will be reviewed so that the pupils get the information and motivation they need to get started.
It’s important to help pupils get started by mentioning examples of everyday climate actions that pupils can take over the next two weeks (see Ducky’s demo in advance so the examples match the content of the championship).
Part 4 ( 15 minutes )
Set aside time after the presentation so pupils and teachers can ask questions. Also, feel free to stay after the presentation is finished in case anyone in the assembly has any questions, but doesn’t want to ask their question in plenary.
Set aside enough time
More success stories
The National Schools Championship this January saw eleven counties, fifty one schools and over 11,000 students compete. Participants saved enough CO2e in two weeks to roughly equal to driving a fossil car 2.5 round trips from the Earth to Moon. But most importantly the championship once again proved that no matter how young or old you are, you can do something to help with climate change.
If all Norwegians copied what the participants in The Plastic Challenge did, we would have reduced plastic bags by more than 10 million, single use coffee cups (and lids) by more than 1 million and picked up more than 260 tons of plastic – in just two weeks.
A kindergarten took first place in Norway’s first unofficial Climate Championship. On the 30th of August, thousands of people around Norway shouted for political action for the climate. For ten companies this wasn’t enough, and followed with a two-week Championship.
Night-train to Oslo? Bike to work? Or on foot home from a fotball match? Some took things further than others when NTNU started their one year Ducky Campaign this spring, to motivate their employees to travel less and more environmentally-friendly.
More than 100 pupils at Firda VGS participated in a Climate Challenge. Because the pilot was so successful, the school will now join 10 other schools in Sogn & Fjordane County to compete in the first National Climate Championship in January 2020.
More than 6 000 students in Telemark and Trøndelag show how powerful individual actions can be when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. Their savings would be equivalent to 40% of Norway’s total annual carbon emissions!
Ready to get started?
Get started with the Climate Challenge, or get in touch with us to learn more about your options.