student named winner of University of Cambridge blog competition

Thursday February 11, 2021

For the second year in the row, a Concord student has been the recipient of a prestigious winner’s prize from the University of Cambridge. Barney in 6.1 won the ‘Compass Magazine’ competition in the form of a 600-word blog, answering the title: ‘What is the most effective policy that governments can enact to tackle climate change?’ – a critical global theme. As part of the Outreach programme, ‘Compass’ is a Geography magazine and website ran by the university students, which runs articles on human and physical geography, geographers in action, world issues, and competitions – such as the annual essay/blog competition for Sixth Form students across the UK. Compass editors state that “the competitions provide an opportunity for students to explore geographical concepts and current issues in greater depth away from the school syllabus and practise some outside-the-box thinking.” Last year, Ben – then a 6.2 student, beat hundreds of entries to win the competition for his short essay on ‘What does the Anthropocene mean to you?’ and ‘How would you define it?’ This year, Concord’s Head of Geography, Miss Susan Cunliffe invited 6.1 geography students to take part, with a handful taking up the challenge. When asked about the motivation to enter the challenge, Barney said: “We studied the carbon cycle in our geography lessons, looking at the effectiveness of different human interventions in tackling climate change – and it was Miss Cunliffe who recommended the competition to us if we wanted the opportunity to look at the issue in more detail. “Climate change is the biggest challenge our generation will face so it's important that young people are engaged in the ideas and solutions to tackle the problem. “I think it's really important that we find methods to tackle climate change that not just reduce human emissions but also bring wider economic recovery and development.” He concluded that retaining and restoring natural habitats and greenspaces would be the most effective policy that governments can enact to tackle climate change and researched a UK government peatland restoration scheme. Further work demonstrated mass afforestation programmes, with a research study showing that planting 1.2 trillion trees could potentially remove up to two-thirds of the human-originated emissions in the atmosphere. Barney added: “I concluded that not only would this help to tackle climate change, but bring economic benefits through the provision of new, green jobs (particularly important as countries recover from COVID) and help improve health and wellbeing.” Earlier this week, Barney – who is looking at applying to study Human, Social and Political Science at Cambridge – was awarded first prize in the competition achieving the ‘Gold Award’, and his entry will soon be published on the Compass Magazine website: Barney will also be the recipient of a Geography book from the university: Climate Change: A Very short Introduction. Speaking of Barney’s success, Miss Cunliffe said: “I think it is worth noting that the competition was only announced at the beginning of term and with a deadline of 31st January, Barney completed his entry whilst revising and taking his January exams. “This makes his achievement all the more remarkable. “This is now the second year in a row that a Concord student has been awarded the first-place prize; we know Concord students are amazing, but they can still surprise me just what a talented group of young people they are.”