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Lead academic: Dr Caroline Keenan (Law)
Lead academic: Kate Holtaway (Law)
UN Sustainable Development Goal
UN Sustainable Development Goal
UN Sustainable Development Goal

The Case for Earth: Designing unprecedented action in speaking up for the planet

Challenge overview

More than ever the Earth needs good advocates to challenge the harm that is being done, campaign for change and demand action from government and large corporations in the future. This challenge will give you the skills to do this.

In Our Challenge ‘The Case for Earth’, we have defined the problem as the lack of advocacy and representation for the Earth, both to galvanise people and produce coordinated change. So whilst the vast majority of us recognise a wealth of environmental problems, some may feel overwhelmed or apathetic. Many people don’t know how to start; what works in terms of campaigning for change, either in politics, business, organisations or society; or how to be the change by creating a different kind of business model, environmental campaign or way of communicating.

The week begins on 10th June with a full day of inspiring speakers and workshops to give you the tools to work on the challenge. On the Friday afternoon, there will be a showcase where all you’ve produced in the week will be displayed together in the Environment and Sustainability Institute, with a final reception.

This Challenge is available to Penryn students only. For Exeter based students interested in this theme, please see the Climate Change or Food for Thought Challenges.

University of Exeter Penryn students can sign-up by clicking here

Falmouth University students can sign-up by emailing grandchallenges@exeter.ac.uk with why they'd like to sign up and their order of preference for the three enquiry groups. 

Grand Challenges 2019 speakers and workshops

Confirmed keynote speakers for the first day so far include Natalie Bennett (former leader of the Green Party) who will talk about creating Carbon Free Cities; Hugo Tagholm (Chief Executive of Surfers Against Sewage); Shane Holland (Executive Chair Slow Food UK) who will talk about creating a grass roots movement for social change; and Stella Bell (from the leading environmental profit for purpose company Climate Care) who will talk about pitching sustainability to business.

You will also attend panel discussions: one with artists on highlighting environmental harm and one with students from this campus who are ‘being the change’ in either journalism, setting up businesses, direct political action, or in organising grass roots environmental work. We’re currently working with artists, political campaigners and businesses to create bespoke workshops for this Challenge including campaign design; organising a grass roots political campaign; making short films with impact; running a social media campaign and how to approach change makers.

Enquiry groups

Enquiry groups are the subtopic of the challenge that you will focus on during Grand Challenges Week, providing you the opportunity to concentrate on an area that you are most interested in. You will be able to choose from the following enquiry groups when you sign up.

Just as Planet Earth 2 brought the problem of Ocean Plastics to the fore, this enquiry group will focus on raising awareness of environmental harms. The harm on which you focus and the way in which you decide to raise awareness is entirely your choice as a group. You can for example choose to produce a documentary in any media; an exhibition which can be set up in different places on and off Campus; or an education pack for schools. By the end of the week you will have created a product which will be showcased on campus when Grand Challenges takes over the Penryn Campus on 14th June 2019.

You will develop a political campaign about your chosen environmental harm. Whether it is deforestation, air pollution or fracking, you will create a campaign which grabs people’s attention and makes them want to sign up to your cause. By the end of the week your group will have produced a political campaign which you will ensure appears all over the Penryn Campus on Friday 14th June.

You will create a pitch suitable for a particular business or corporation you have identified, to explain how they can act sustainably and reduce and repair a particular environmental harm. For example if you decided that you wished to pitch sustainable field courses to the University of Exeter you would identify what interests of the University of Exeter your pitch would need to satisfy. By the end of the week on 14th June your group will pitch your proposals to representatives of business and other corporations.