Smashing Carbon Reduction Record For Third Year In a Row!

Success Story | School Climate Championship 2020

Counties involved: Trøndelag, Sogn og Fjordane, Oppland, Agder, Nordland, Oslo, Akershus, Rogaland, Hedmark, and Østfold.

The National School Climate Champsionship 2020

The first Ducky School Climate Championship was held in Norway in 2017. One county, twenty two schools and 1600 students competed with each other to reduce their daily carbon emissions over a two week Ducky competition.

This January was the third competition, and what a difference three years make. The National School Climate Championship 2020 saw eleven counties, fifty one schools and over 11,000 students compete. The final tally by the end of the 2020 competition was over 500,000 kgs of CO2e saved, in a mere two weeks. A fantastic achievement by the participants.

The national school climate championship 2020
“Commitment, knowledge and good attitudes are an important basis for making good choices. We believe the climate school championship contributes to this, so that the youngsters in Trøndelag are better able to contribute to the climate change!”
Rune Hedegart
Senior advisor, Trøndelag county

The National school climate Championship

For those who don’t know, the Ducky School Climate Championship is an open challenge to Norwegian high schools to compete against each other to reduce their carbon footprint. They do this by logging and changing their daily habits. Eating more vegetarian, taking shorter showers, cycling more and buying secondhand are just some of the activities they can opt to do. The key thing is for them to realise that small changes can make a big difference, especially if enough people do them.

The aim this year was to take the climate challenge to a whole new level, and wow the schools did us proud. They saved enough CO2e in two weeks roughly equal to driving a fossil car 2.5 round trips from the Earth to the 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.

The Climate Ambassador’s Story

Climate evangelists don’t have to stick out; they are just ordinary folk, but with a passion. These heroes are crucial in driving engagement and motivation during a Ducky challenge, and 2020 was no exception. These special people can be students, engaged teachers or inspiring principals – the one defining quality is a belief in sustainable living and the need to reduce bad habits. They help to motivate participants to do their best, and create fun initiatives to increase the participation of the students.

So what makes these Ducky Championships so special?

Well, who doesn’t enjoy a good game? And when the game includes a goal, as worthy as tackling climate change, it’s hard not to get excited. In the case of the latest championship the youngsters were also motivated by the desire to smash the 2019 record for reducing CO2e. In the event they managed to almost double the numbers of carbon emissions saving, up from 273,000 to 500,000 kgs of CO2e. Way to go teams!

Much of the success behind a Ducky challenge comes from the motivational techniques we use to encourage engagement and habit change.

  • * The challenge must be fair and fun to do. To achieve this, we give ownership to students, based on trust and open collaboration, instead of mere competitiveness.
  • * Teams make all the difference. When you compete in teams, motivation rockets.
  • * Once you start it’s hard to stop. Changing small habits for a short time leads to longer term behaviour change.
  • * Real time feedback. Leaderboards and activity notifications really increase the level of engagement. This is no boring eco lecture, it’s alive and exciting.
  • * Competing with your peer group is a great way to improve team building and motivation.
  • * Finally, the whole thing has to have a positive feeling. There’s no shaming or blaming here. Just good wholesome proof of the benefits of reduced consumption on an individual level.

Championship highlights

“In fact, if all Norwegians copied the top twenty classes in the 2020 climate championship, the country would save 35% of its total annual carbon emissions!”

There were some inspirational aspects of this year challenge.

Sandnes High School. The students took full control of their championship run. They also received some great publicity in the local press and actually inspired their county, Rogaland, to join the next championship in 2021.

Firda High School. The pupils were incredibly organised. They had already run their own pilot in 2019 and this year managed to recruit ten out of eleven schools in their county to join the 2020 championship. A big shout out to Sogn og Fjordane county for their support too.

Strinda High School. They went full bore on this championship. Twenty teachers and twenty pupils got together to create a ‘‘sustainability team’. Then they created a spectacular range of incentives and events to promote the championship among the student body. Meatless Tuesday, clothes exchange day and go-green week were just a few ideas they deployed. The result was fantastic, with over 1500 participants recruited to log actions during the two weeks.

The success of this championship would have not been possible without some key support. So a HUGE thanks to:

  • * Passionate principals who gave time and space for teachers to join the championship.
  • * Those amazing inspirational climate ambassadors (you know who you are!).
  • * Dedicated and committed teaching staff.
  • * Generous support from counties (visionary help makes all the difference).
The national school climate championship 2020
“I feel it is great to have such a competition, because it helps to put more focus, and makes more students think more climate friendly. Maybe they bring some of the habits they have learned during the climate championship in the climate further! This makes us more conscious while learning more about what we can do together!”
Marit Moen
Pupil, Strinda High School
The national school climate championship 2020


The national school climate championship 2020


Climate actions logged
The national school climate championship 2020


Kg CO2e saved

51 high schools competed to reduce their CO2e-emissions the most in 2 weeks.

So who were the Climate Champions of 2020?

The joint efforts from schools in all counties were inspirational and thrilling!

With such a huge turnout this year, we at Ducky really had to come up with a fair and sensible structure to ensure that every school had an equal shot at the title. To ensure competition fairness, we created two levels of competition; one for small (less than 200 participants) and one for big sized schools (more than 200 participants).  The competition was quite intense between the counties, and it’s probably fair to say that having participated over all three years, Trøndelag county seemed to benefit from their longer experience.

The final winners were:

  • Strinda high school (large schools), Trøndelag county.
  • Skansen high school, Steiner (Smaller school), Trøndelag county.

What a fantastic prize giving.

In line with previous years we had a fabulous prize giving ceremony at the end of the championship.

The event, called ‘Top Meeting For Youth’‘Top Meeting For Youth” was arranged with the welcome support of Adressa (a regional newspaper in Trøndelag county), along with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in the beautiful city of Trondheim.
The national school climate championship 2020

In the event over 700 enthusiastic students and staff were joined by politicians, researchers and sustainability academics. An inspiring and enriching programme of discussions around climate action kept the audience entertained and educated during the event.

The national school climate championship 2020

A picture from the ‘Top Meeting For Youth’ held on the 13th of February, 2020. 

But alas all things have to come to an end. So finally representatives from Ducky and Trøndelag county presented the National Schools Championship 2020 prize to the worthy winners. In case you’re wondering, the prize was some tickets to a concert from a local band. But of course everyone realised that the real prize was the valuable work all the participants put into reducing emissions and raising awareness of climate change among their friends, family and county citizens. Well done everyone on an amazing job.

Read articles about the National school climate championship 2020 here:

Follow Up the Next National School Championship 2021 HERE!

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