The Youth Innovation Challenge (YIC) invites applicants from 15 to 30 years of age to propose a solution to address climate change, marine litter, or both issues, using environmental education as a key strategy. We are looking for solutions that are innovative, feasible, and informed by research. Your solution could win you a $1000 USD prize!
The Youth Innovation Challenge invites applicants from 15 to 30 years of age to propose a solution to address
climate change, marine litter, or both issues, that uses environmental education as a key element. Solutions must be
innovative, feasible, and informed by research.
An innovative solution could include applying an existing tool or approach in a new context, such as adapting an existing approach to a new environmental issue, audience, or scale. Or, a solution could involve something completely new! We encourage you to think creatively about the problem you want to solve, the steps you propose to take, and who you will work with to achieve your goal.
Proposed solutions should also be feasible and address an unmet community need at any scale. Your target community could be geographic, such as your city or country, or tied to shared interests, such as a school or a professional community. Your solution should consider the needs and characteristics of your community.
Finally, proposed solutions should consider the complex social, economic, and/or environmental dynamics of climate
change and marine litter through informed research and evidence from credible sources. This background research
should demonstrate how your solution is relevant to the audience you are hoping to reach and will help us understand
your knowledge of the issue(s).
All eligible proposals will be evaluated by a panel of experts in relevant fields. A total of 15 YIC finalists will be selected
and will receive the following benefits:
• An official Youth Innovation Challenge finalist certificate
• Recognition through GEEP, NAAEE, and other global partners’ websites and social media pages
• Additional exposure for their solution to environmental education leaders and influencers at the
2021 Asia Pacific Virtual EE Forum
We will select 3 Youth Innovation Challenge winners from the 15 YIC finalists. Each winner will receive a $1,000 USD grant, in addition to all the
benefits listed above.
Finalists will be notified by mid-November 2021. At the end of the challenge, all applicants are welcome to request
feedback about submissions.
The Youth Innovation Challenge is intended for young leaders and innovators aged 15–30. Your innovative solutions must:
address climate change or marine litter, or both (since these issues are connected)
• include an environmental education component (see important guidance in Selection criteria below)
• be submitted online through Submittable (only one proposal per person will be accepted)
Proposals will only be accepted in English at this time. Your video and written responses will not be scored based on your English ability, but rather the strength of your solution and your ability to communicate your ideas and vision to the judges.
Applications should include a short (less than 3 minutes) video pitch about your innovative solution and detailed
responses to the questions below. Successful proposals will describe how their solution addresses climate change or
marine litter and will explain how their solution is innovative, feasible, and grounded in effective environmental
Applications must be submitted through Submittable by Monday, October 25, 2021 at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time.
Winners will be notified in mid-November 2021.
The selection panel will use the below criteria to score your solutions and select the 15 YIC finalists and 3 YIC winners:
Includes environmental education (EE) as one of the solution strategies:
All proposed solutions should demonstrate how environmental education can help address complex environmental
issues and create long-lasting change for a sustainable future. We encourage youth innovation challenge applicants to review “What is EE” and our
Guidelines for Excellence: Community Engagement as you consider how to incorporate EE in your proposal. Your solution may integrate a number of approaches, educational and non-educational, but the selection panel will look for the following characteristics of effective EE practice in your proposed solution:
• Building capacity for informed choices — EE aims to provide people and communities with the knowledge, values,
attitudes, and skills to help them make informed decisions about addressing environmental and social issues.
• Community-centered — Integrating environmental goals within the context of community interests, issues, and
capacities puts the community at the heart of EE. A community is a group of people with something in common,
and communities can be at any geographic scale or in a virtual space. Your solution is based on your target
community’s unique needs, and your approach is tailored to their interests and capacities
- Collaborative and inclusive — EE supports collaborative and inclusive relationships, partnerships, and coalitions. You demonstrate how partnerships will contribute to your solution’s success, and how you ensure your solution is equitable, inclusive, and accessible to community members from a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives.
• Focused on action — A central aim of EE is informed, committed action by individuals, groups, or communities that
improves the quality of the environment. While strategies like advocacy and social marketing are valuable, they on
their own are not considered to be EE because they attempt to move participants to take a specific, predetermined
action. EE is not focused on promoting a predetermined action, but instead empowers individuals and communities
with skills and motivation to encourage positive action.
Informed: You have designed your solution based on the complex social, economic, and/or environmental dynamics
of climate change and marine litter, and provide relevant research or evidence to demonstrate this. Whether your
background research comes from books, scientific journals, or websites, we encourage you to make sure your sources
Innovative: Your solution meets a need in your community, country, or region, using a new or better idea, practice,
product, process, or strategy to address climate change or marine litter, or both if you’re linking these issues. This could be an entirely new solution or applying an existing tool or approach in a new context, and can include creative ways to engage new audiences through environmental education.
Feasible: You, your partners, and your community collectively have the necessary skills and experiences to make your
proposed solution a success. Feasibility also considers how you will address potential challenges or risks, and how you
will ensure long-term viability of your solution, recognizing that solutions to climate change and marine litter will require long-term changes in behaviors, processes, policies, and institutions. You don’t need to have every detail figured out, but we want to see that you have thoughtfully considered possible challenges.
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