The Big Green Challenge is a debating competition for S1 – S3 pupils (aged 11 to 14 years of age) from secondary schools in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. It aims to raise awareness and understanding of renewable energy by giving young people the opportunity to research and debate the issues surrounding the topic of renewable energy. At each round, the students don’t know until the last minute, whether they will be speaking for or against renewables – so they have to be well informed in order to speak for or against each motion.
A special feature of the Big Green Challenge is that it provides an opportunity to welcome children and teachers from all over the Highlands and Islands to the impressive surroundings of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh for the final rounds of the competition.
Mitsubishi is one of the sponsors of the event, and at this year’s debate on 20th June Artemis managing director Dr. Niall Caldwell was honoured this year to join the panel of judges. His fellow judges were Mike MacKenzie (MSP for Highlands and Islands), Iseabail Mactaggart of HIE (Highlands and Islands Enterprise) and Greg Clark from SSE Renewables.
The worthy winners of the debating competition were Charleston Academy from Inverness who displayed a deep understanding of the issues, confident presentation and excellent debating technique.
Niall was deeply impressed by the efforts of all of the students to develop the skills of debating and by their bravery in standing up and speaking out in front of the crowd.
Artemis also presented a special prize, consisting of a robot construction kit and tools, for “Best Understanding of Technology” to the pupils of Nairn Academy.
Niall said “It was inspiring to hear these young Scottish people debating our energy future. I hope we also inspired some of them to shape this future – by developing the energy technology we need with their own hands”.
Niall Caldwell with the team from Nairn Academy after presenting them with the Artemis prize for Best Understanding of Technology.
Before presenting the award, Niall summarised his feelings as follows: “Artemis engineers invent, make and test high-tech machines to generate renewable energy, and reduce the energy consumption of vehicles and industry. But we all started out as curious girls and boys, taking things apart to find out how they work, and making stuff for the fun of it. This type of creative play, combined with the knowledge gained from lessons, prepares the kids of today to invent Scotland’s future with their own hands. Let’s give them a challenge: how do we make and transform energy to power our modern world, without destroying it in the process?”.