Since this article was published, two Eton teams, ‘Earthify’ and ‘Shell Wrap’, have been shortlisted as Earth Prize Scholars. The ten Earth Prize Finalists will then be selected from the pool of 37 Earth Prize Scholars.

Eton College will submit presentations from a record eight teams to the Earth Prize 2023 competition this January.  Interest in the Earth Prize has increased this year after an Eton team of three pupils were named top 10 finalists last year in this environmental sustainability competition for teenage students across the globe. 

The Earth Prize recognises students and schools with the best solutions to accelerate positive change towards environmental sustainability.  The prize also recognises excellent environmental educators and mentors.  Last year, in addition to an Eton team making it to the finals, Eton’s Mademoiselle Pauline Herbommez was nominated as the Earth Prize Educator of the Year. 

On Thursday 19 January, all eight teams presented their ideas in front of an audience of boys and staff.  This year’s proposed projects range from an online platform maximising the impact of coastal clean-up organisations using science and technology called CyberWaves, to a carbon-captured plastic water brand, to a project which plans to utilize mycofiltration technology to combat water pollution. A total of 28 boys are involved in the teams making their final submissions after several months of work.

A team member for the CyberWaves project, James T, learned from preparing his Earth Prize project that “innovation comes from merging ideas”. This perspective was seconded by fellow pupil Christopher W, who “learnt not to be afraid to ask experts for advice; we asked mycologists across the world, from California to New Zealand to South Africa, for help!” 

Eton’s Earth Prize teams are hopeful of being selected as Earth Prize Scholars on 13 February 2023. Thereafter, following additional work on their proposals, they would then compete with the other finalists on 27 March, with the final winners declared on 21 April.  Competition at each stage of the Earth Prize is fierce, with over 650 teams entering last year from 516 schools representing over 114 countries and territories in a truly global contest. 

A member of last year’s finalist team, Merritt F, explained: “The process got more intense as our team moved through the various levels of the competition.  At each stage, we had to consider more practical aspects of our project from fundraising support to community involvement. We all took away from the competition an understanding of the complexity of actually implementing sustainable projects and all the stakeholders that need to be involved in moving a project forward.”

Thanks go to Mademoiselle Herbommez and Ms Hicks, the School’s Directors of Environmental Education, for encouraging these teams and helping them prepare excellent proposals for the Earth Prize competition this year.