Tips for planning your entry
The Story of Your Stuff is an initiative of the Environmental Protection Agency that challenges second-level students to investigate the life cycle of their everyday ‘stuff’ or activities. The EPA’s vision is for a clean, healthy and well-protected environment supporting a sustainable society and economy. Here, it shares its top five tips for the competition along with the 2019 winner's tips for a winning entry!
Be inspired by your ‘stuff’
How do you decide the focus of your The Story of Your Stuff project? Inspiration comes in many forms, so start with what you know. Think about the things you use every day and talk to your teacher. You could also look at everyday activities, such as travel. Some examples of our everyday go-to objects are mobile phones, toiletries and beauty products, schoolbags, notebooks, drinks containers and the lunch you bring to school. Do you know where any of these objects started out or what they are made of? What about packing used and food waste? What happens to them when you are finished using them? Our ‘stuff’, actions and the decisions we make about them directly impact our planet. Each of those objects or activities has its own environmental life cycle story to tell, so pick the one you’re most interested in and start your research.
Unleash your inner detective and begin your investigation
Once you’ve decided the object or activity on which you’re going to base your project, it’s time to start exploring its life cycle.
Visit the EPA’s Ireland’s Environment web resource and EPA Website where you will find a treasure trove of useful information about climate change, biodiversity and waste management. The website has all kinds of interesting infographics, factsheets that can be downloaded, and reports that you can draw from.
Next, search the wider internet for specific information relating to your project, and consult your school and local libraries. Use your detective skills to research, in the case of an object what it is made of, how it is made, what emissions are associated with its production. Where the object could end up if it is no longer of use to you, and what it could become if it was recycled properly. Similarly, for an activity – how does that action impact the environment?.
Bring your object or activity to life by exploring its life cycle
The Story of Your Stuff aims to get us thinking, talking and making changes by looking at the entirety of an object’s life cycle. This includes what may become of it if it is correctly recycled, and what can happen to it if it is not. Think about the object or activity you’ve chosen and why you use or do it on a daily basis. Did you make a conscious decision to look at a sustainable option? If not, are there such options out there? Incorporate your findings into your competition entry with creativity. Use your unique skills and talents to bring the project to life.
Find the right creative medium for your project
For your The Story of Your Stuff entry, we want to see your creativity shine through with your learnings. You need to visually tell the story of your object or activity through a medium of your choice such as video (max 90 seconds), animation, hand-drawn storyboard, infographics or photography (check out the rules for the full list of acceptable formats). Pick the medium that best allows your talents and passion to shine through.
Check out the 2019 Winners Tips for a winning entry!
- Pick a topic you're passionate about.
- Research your topic thoroughly - consider every angle.
- Have a simple & solid plan together before you begin.
- If working in a team, give every team member a role of equal importance - consider people's skills.
- Keep motivated and be creative - think outside the box!
Act now, enter now
We are at a critical point in time that will dictate the future or our planet. Now is the time to turn aspirations for a better world into everyday actions. Your project is one big step to inspiring those around you to make more environmentally conscious decisions with their ‘stuff’ or activities. When you’ve finished your research and put together your project in your medium of choice, ask your teacher to enter it on your behalf. Good luck!