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Design for Change introduces the Rainforest Kids Challenge

“If we lose the world’s forests, we lose the fight against climate change. Rainforests are our Earth’s greatest utility; our planet’s lungs, thermostat and air-conditioning system”. This is a quote from Michael Somare, the first Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea after the country’s independence in 1975.

Rainforest Day is celebrated every year on June 22 for exactly that reason, the importance of these incredible ecosystems to all life on Earth. Rainforests are the most biodiverse regions of our planet. They are home to millions of species of plants and animals, many of which are yet to be discovered by scientists. The rainforests store more carbon than any other region in the world and regulate our climate. As Mr. Somare said, they are the planet’s lungs.

Unfortunately, the world has been losing 3.2 million hectares of rainforest every single year for the past 20 years. This kills the biodiversity on our planet, releases tons of carbon into the atmosphere and disturbs our climate balance. Deforestation by itself contributes to 15% of global carbon emissions.

Protecting the environment and making the world more sustainable have always been big points of emphasis for Young Social Innovators as we work with young people all across Ireland. The Climate Crisis is one of the biggest challenges facing society today, and it is young people who will suffer unless we take urgent action now. 

That’s why YSI is happy to partner with Design for Change to promote ‘The Rainforest Kids Challenge’, supported by XPRIZE Rainforest. The aim for the first-ever Rainforest Kids Challenge is to educate the children about the importance of the standing rainforests and encourage them to be part of a community that cares about the rainforests and takes action to restore them for a better world.

Using Design for Change’s ‘Feel, Imagine, Do and Share’(FIDS) Framework, children and teenagers will have the chance to use their creativity and problem solving skills to come up with ways and means to protect and preserve the rainforest around the world. Due to limited access to rainforests globally, the solutions do not have to exclusively focus on rainforests itself. Climate change encompasses a broad range of issues that can be acted upon from anywhere in the world.

YSI teams often try to address these issues with their projects.A team from Dundalk Grammar School, who won the 2021 YSI Make Our Future More Sustainable Challenge, sought to address food waste and its impact on the environment with their project “Plan’t Get Enough Compost”.

The deadline for teams to enter ‘The Rainforest Kids Challenge’ has been extended to 30th September 2021, and four teams will be in with a chance of winning $2,000(USD). Details for how to enter can be found at https://rainforestchallenge.dfcworld.org/