The Big Green Challenge – A Talking Point for Teenagers in the Highlands and Islands

An innovative project by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is helping pupils across Scotland to gain a better understanding and awareness of renewable energy.

More than 120 S1 – S3 students from 25 schools across the Highlands and Islands are putting their talking skills to the test in The Big Green Challenge debating competition. They have been working alongside local mentors to research both sides of the renewables debate.

The first rounds of the competition are taking place throughout October, with pupils from schools in the Western Isles and Shetland to Tiree and Arran participating in live debates.

The Big Green Challenge is a HIE initiative which is aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of renewable energy. HIE recognises renewable energy as a sector with high growth potential which will benefit the local economy and communities across the region. Increasing Scotland’s renewable energy generation is also a key Scottish Government pledge, with the aim of half of Scotland’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020. More than 120 pupils from 25 schools, fielding 43 teams have been working alongside local mentors to research both sides of the renewables debate in preparation for the first round competition.

Dr John McClatchey of the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) who has been involved in mentoring participating teams said: “It was really good to work with the enthusiastic pupils who were being challenged to think deeply about the benefits and problems of renewable energy that I and my colleagues are researching at ERI. The debate will help them to build on their knowledge of science, geography and politics, and bring it all together to understand the issues. It will also develop their speaking and presentational skills (from their work in English and Drama) in order to make their case.

Contact: Mairi Gillies
Phone: 01463 233235
Email: mairi.gillies@hient.co.uk
Website: http://www.hie.co.uk