Addressing environmental sustainability and harnessing the power of AI are key challenges for today's youth. Our world's future depends on the participation of every young person. Past generations haven't quite managed to fix these issues – in fact, they've added to them – but could it be that teenagers hold the key to sparking change? Join the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, and other companies, who care about using AI for the good of all.
In this Challenge, you'll explore the question:
What ideas do you have for using AI to address environmental issues?
This Challenge is open from
November 13 - December 13, 2023
The Explore stage acts as a launchpad, priming you to come up with your very own groundbreaking ideas to tackle environmental issues with a sustainable solution. You'll have an opportunity to dig into an area of interest:
⏱️Time: 2- 4 Hours (Week 1 of the Challenge)
✏️Use the optional KNOtebook to record notes and questions
💼Mentor: Ask a mentor questions about the topic
🎯Future-Ready Skills: Social Awareness, Initiative and Self-Direction
What do you think about environmental issues? Share your opinion and see what other high school students think. After you take the poll, be sure to select "See previous responses" for the results.
Dive headfirst into environmental troubles and uncover how they're taking a toll on us.
You may have heard the buzzword "environmental sustainability" tossed around, but what's the deal with it and what does it have to do with this Challenge? The United Nations (UN) World Commission on Environment and Development defines environmental sustainability as taking actions that secure natural resources for future generations to live a life that's equal to or better than ours.
If we don’t focus on conserving our resources, eventually we will run out and won’t be able to survive. One thing is clear: environmental sustainability is vital because human survival depends on it. And, it depends on acting now! We need your ideas to make our world more environmentally sustainable.
Learn about sustainability by checking out any of the following videos. Remember, you’ll be coming up with genius ideas with AI to tackle critical environmental problems.
Select each video's image to watch.
It's a global issue (3:24)
Overview of sustainable development (3:06)
Sustainability: thinking and being (2:27)
Flip each card to learn more.
While environmental issues affect everyone, some communities are more severely affected by environmental degradation. Hear from youth impacted by environmental issues in their communities. Learn more about environmental racism and environmental justice.
Select each of the tabs below to better understand: Air Pollution, Environmental Racism, and Climate Change.
Meet Tonyisha, a young person who is being directly impacted by the effects and injustices of climate change in Chicago, IL. Climate change is causing air pollution and urban island heat effect in Chicago. (2:50)
The planet's climate crisis sparks inequality worldwide, and intensifies the struggle for racial equality. In this video, indigenous rights and environmental justice activist, Chihiro Geuzebroek, explains what is meant by the term ‘environmental racism’ and how we can fight against it. (2:23)
Hear from Leslee, a young climate activist using their voice to fight against environmental racism in Minnesota. (3:38)
AI is taking over the world, one byte at a time! But wait, what is it exactly? Artificial Intelligence (AI) is like a tech-savvy brain that uses fancy algorithms to learn from data and help us make decisions. It's like having a super smart friend. With some training, AI machines can take on tasks that need human smarts. Let's learn a bit about AI so we can start thinking about some solutions to the issues below.
Select the video images to learn more.
AI and Some of It's Issues (4:38)
AI Explained (4:45)
AI in Our Everyday Lives (3:22)
Generative AI (1:16)
Let's face it, saving our planet is no easy feat. The list of issues is endless, and it's tough to know where to start. But, fear not! You don't have to tackle every environmental challenge at once. Why not channel your inner eco-warrior and zoom in on one thing that sets your heart racing? Is it fast fashion, food waste, plastic recycling, or another environmental concern?The choice is yours! And your solution will a game-changer!
Learn about all three issues by selecting the tabs below, then choose one area of interest to go deeper. What will it be? Fashion, food waste, or plastics. Or, a topic of your choice?
New season, new styles, buy more, buy cheap, move on, throw away: the pollution, waste, and emissions of fast fashion are fueling an ecological crisis. Now is the time to rethink what is bought, what is thrown away, and what it costs the planet. Watch the video (1:07).
If you're keen on tackling the fashion industry and finding solutions then take a look at the Fashion slide deck in this Challenge. and consider how you might tackle this vital issue, using AI.
Where does all of our food waste go? The U.S. wastes about 40 percent of its food and much of this food waste is perfectly edible and nutritious. The uneaten food puts strain on the environment by wasting valuable resources like water and farmland. And, 12% of American households are food insecure (source).
Check out the Food Waste section. It'll give you some food for thought on how to tackle this vital issue.
Plastic waste is a mounting issue in America, with vast quantities being produced annually, yet very little being recycled. From litter in urban areas to polluting our oceans and waterways, the problem is widespread and poses serious health risks to both humans and animals. Addressing this pervasive issue is critical, as plastic waste is currently one of the most significant environmental challenges we face. Despite the scale of the problem, solutions do exist. What can we do to help?
Check out the Plastics section and consider how you might address this critical issue, using AI.
AI algorithms are being used by fashion companies to only produce what is needed --- keeping in mind environmental sustainability. Take a look at one example.
About 60% of the 100 billion garments produced annually end up in a landfill within a year. Could artificial intelligence fix the waste problems of the fashion industry? Watch the video (3:15)
AI tools are being used to reduce food waste in restaurants. Take a look at one example.
Food waste management company Winnow estimates that its AI-powered tools have already saved 61,000 tons of Co2, equivalent to 36,512,500 meals, worth $44 million. Watch a video (1:36).
Select each tab below to see some examples of how AI could be used to combat the problem of plastic waste.
At a recycling center in Boulder, Colorado, automation and artificial intelligence are becoming part of the process. The AI learns how to tell pieces of plastic from sheets of paper and how to grab them. NBC News’ Jacob Ward has more details on the technology. Watch the video (2:36).
14-year old Anna Du describes her award-winning project to identify microplastics on the ocean floor using neural networks/artificial intelligence! Learn how you can do it too! Watch the video (3:32).
See how this student suggests combatting the plastic pollution problem with an innovative idea. Watch the video (1:34).
In our rapidly changing world, we're discovering exciting ways to harness the incredible potential of AI for a greener, more sustainable future. Flips the cards to take a look at some of the remarkable applications:
Did you know that there are professionals, who created the Challenge, standing by to help you? They will also be judging your final pitches, so be sure to take advantage throughout the Challenge and post your questions on your dashboard. They want you to win!
What are you curious about? Ask them any questions that came up for you during the Explore phase.
One important part of The KnoPro Challenges is choosing the type of solution you plan to create (in a group of solo) and ultimately pitch to the judges. Check out an example of each of your choices: a product idea, a new business concept, or a marketing campaign. You can also get inspiration from all the winning projects.
Flip the cards to help you decide which approach you may want to take. Later in the Challenge, you'll choose ONE approach.