First prize for the "Hermann-Tast-Schule", Husum
End of the event

13 laureates, 7,000 winners – “Protect the climate” awards in Berlin

This national competition, which attracted entries from around 26,000 German schools, invited young people to devote their energies to finding ways of protecting the climate. The prizes were presented to the twelve national winners at a ceremony held in Berlin on 26 April. The Munich Re Foundation sponsored a special prize.

The prize-giving ceremony for the competition, launched by the Federal Environment Ministry, took place in Berlin on 26 April 2006. The competition was organised by the Berlin Zeitbild Verlag publishing house, which has long-standing experience in the education field. The Munich Re Foundation decided to partner the project because its own role of finding innovative solutions, applying knowledge and taking appropriate action coincided with the competition’s objectives.

Individual schoolchildren, whole classes and even entire schools had spent a year applying their enthusiasm and imagination to the topic of renewable energies and had come up with some novel ways of saving fossil fuel.

The colourful awards ceremony, presided over by TV presenters Nina Moghaddam of Super RTL and Marcus Werner of SAT 1, was attended by 150 pupils and teachers from the whole of Germany. The twelve winning teams, which came from schools in eight federal states, presented their highly original ideas for protecting the climate. The winners received cash prizes totalling €15,000 from the State Secretary for the Environment, Matthias Machnig. The top prize went to the pupils of Hermann Tast School in Husum, whose commendable efforts had resulted in Germany’s first-ever miniature offshore wind farm, constructed on mudflats. The jury were greatly impressed by the ingenuity displayed by the young climate change activists in using tiny  wind turbines to generate hydrogen. Prizes also went to Berger Feld Comprehensive School in Gelsenkirchen for their excellent campaign publicising the climate-protection issue among the pupils and to Ferdinandshof Special Needs School in Mecklenburg–West Pomerania. The pupils of this school for children with learning disabilities turned the spotlight on the value of nature and nature protection in their short musical production, “The generation tree”.

The Munich Re Foundation’s prize of a solar-charged iPOD was awarded to the best individual entry. The winner, 16-year-old Sören Klabunde of Sollstedt Secondary School, produced a mirror distillation device for purifying water. The winner noted in his description of the project that “the condensation appliance is an autonomous device which can be used to provide clean water to people in areas with high sunshine levels”.

The competition is designed to promote awareness of climate-change issues. 26,000 German schools received support materials in the form of spreadsheets, handouts and a quiz on energy efficiency, environmental, mobility and climate protection topics. Participants were free to contact local associations, businesses and civic groups to obtain information and financial backing for their projects. In all, some 7,000 pupils submitted ideas.

The foundation will also be supporting the 2007 competition, for which entry forms will be available as of autumn 2006.


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> Thomas Loster