Listen up future leaders! If you were in charge of the country, what would YOU do to help solve climate change and look after the planet?

We’re asking school pupils across the UK to share their hopes and ambitions for a greener, more sustainable future at the United Nations COP26 climate conference this November. 

How to take part

If you were in charge of the country, what would you do to help look after the planet?

Entering the competition and having your voice heard is simple! If you’re aged 7-15 years old, all you have to do is craft and submit no more than 200 words on how you would look after the planet if you were in charge.

Entry categories are:

  • Primary school: years 3-6, from age 7 to 11
  • Secondary school: years 7-10, from age 11 to 15

A shortlist of ten entrants will be reviewed by celebrity judge Helen Skelton, MPs and David Wright, Group Chief Engineer at National Grid, and will be scored against criteria we’ve set out below to help you with your entry. 

Four winners will be invited to turn their 200 word submission into a 2-5 minute speech that they will be filmed delivering. These digital speeches will be showcased virtually at COP26 in November 2021.

Submit your entries by 5pm on Tuesday, 17 August 2021.

What is the ‘Voices for a Green Future’ competition?

If you’re aged between 7 and 15 years old, National Grid is giving you the chance to have your voice heard by world leaders at COP26 - the climate change conference of a generation. We want you to spell out your hopes and ambitions for a green future for our planet to inspire world leaders into action.

Four lucky winners will be invited to create a 2-5-minute speech, receiving a VIP video shoot with a professional video team to turn their ideas into a film that will be premiered at COP26 in front of world leaders. 

Winners will also receive £150 worth of vouchers to be spent on National Book Tokens or toys to excite and equip you with new skills. And you’ll also win your school a whopping £5,000 grant to put towards initiatives focused on climate change and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

We’re really optimistic that Britain will reach its climate change targets – including the key one to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 – but it will require a new generation of people who are brimming with enthusiasm and ideas to build a cleaner, greener future.

Why having your voice heard matters

Every voice matters in the fight against climate change, but young people’s futures will be most affected by the decisions and actions we make today. That’s why we’re giving young visionaries a platform to share their hopes with the world and we’re celebrating the young minds standing up for a greener future.

It’s crucial we all shift towards a more sustainable way of life, including using clean and green energy to both power and preserve our world. The transition to clean energy is critical to help us achieve the important climate change goal of reaching net zero by 2050.

This is because energy is vital to every aspect of our lives. We use it to light and heat our homes, to power our computers and phones, to keep us connected with work and loved ones. We rely on it to keep us safe, our hospitals running, our schools open and our water flowing.

National Grid is focused on finding ways to deliver cleaner, greener energy and we’ve made our own commitments to the environment ahead of COP26. Now we want to hear about your ideas for looking after the planet.

Explaining your idea to help the planet: some questions to inspire you

We’re excited to hear about your hopes and ideas to help look after the planet and tackle climate change. 

To help you get started with your entry, we’ve set out some example questions you might want to think about to inspire your competition entry:

  • How will people in a green world get to school? What transport will we use that doesn't pollute the air?
  • What will they eat and drink to be sustainable? 
  • What could people do to save more energy at home/at school?
  • How would you use more renewable energy? Where and how will we produce it?
  • If you were a superhero, what would your green superpower be to save the planet?
How will the competition be judged?

To help you with your 200 word entry, we’ve listed out the judging criteria. Think about the following when crafting your entry.

  • Originality of the idea – be as descriptive as possible on your hopes for a greener more sustainable world. Do not copy another’s work or mention brand names, characters, celebrities or other high-profile individuals, political parties or political figures, companies or third parties. All work must be your own.
  • Creativity and passion – think differently and explain your idea in your own words to inspire world leaders to take note and listen.
  • Inspire a reaction – inspire a reaction from the reader, be it emotional, a change in behaviour or a change in their thinking.
  • Spelling and Grammar – make sure you check your work for spelling and grammar mistakes.

In the final round, where you’ll deliver your 200 words via a video speech, your entry will be judged against a one further criteria:

  • Speech delivery – be clear and concise, and show you care. Think about the pace of your speech. Don’t forget about your body language and go for it.

Voices for a Green Future COP26 school competition

Pupils from Primrose Lane Primary school in Boston Spa, Leeds, shared their ideas with TV presenter Helen Skelton on how to fight climate change to help launch National Grid’s Voices for a Green Future competition, giving young people a say on the climate crisis in a video premiered in front of world leaders at COP26. 

Watch the video

Have your voice heard

Enter the competition

Resources for teachers and parents

Educational resources to inspire children, and materials to help you promote the competition

Frequently asked questions

Frequently Asked Questions about the competition