World Vision Ireland is calling on children to enter their climate change essay competition — and urging parents and teachers to encourage kids to do so.
RTÉ star is juding climate change essay competition, says Helen O'Callaghan
Eight to 18-year-olds are asked to write an essay titled ‘How We Can Save Our Planet’ in 800 words or less. Ryan Tubridy will judge the competition and the winner will meet Ryan in the RTÉ studios — plus take home a €500 Smyths voucher.
Niall McLoughlin, CEO of World Vision Ireland, a child-centred overseas aid agency, acknowledges that climate crisis can be challenging for parents to discuss — especially with younger children.
“We don’t want to cause anxiety but rather set a positive example for what can be done on a day-to-day basis,” he says.
A parent himself, Mr McLoughlin cites actions families can take: buy local products, walk rather than drive, or shop without buying plastic packaging.
Discussing these changes with children can go a long way towards instilling a sense of personal interest and responsibility for the planet, he said.
It’s the first time World Vision Ireland has run this competition. Director of communications, Fiona O’Malley, says the charity sees the direct impact of climate change in increasing numbers of displaced communities.
“Education can play a key role in innovation and investments in environmentally-sound technologies and infrastructure, sustainable livelihoods and lifestyle choices. Schools play a pivotal role in teaching students how to be environmentally responsible.”
Gary Tyrrell is climate ambassador with An Taisce’s Climate Action Programme, a role that brings him into schools.
He is “constantly inspired” by pupils’ creativity around tackling the climate crisis. “They mightn’t understand all the science but they have a fair idea when it comes to the action needed. They come up with stuff you’d expect from adults, asking why we don’t have more solar panels and what about renewable energy.”
He’s excited to see what ideas the competition will generate. “Providing children with opportunities to channel their energy, creativity and positivity will reap rewards greater than adults would expect.”