Climate Champions Exhibition at the UN
On the 21st of September 2022, the founder of Little Inventors, Dominic Wilcox, opened the Climate Champions Exhibition at the United Nations Office in Geneva. The challenge was in partnership with CRIN (Child Rights International Network). The exhibition featured the 10 shortlisted ideas that were brought to life as part of the challenge.
We wanted the ambassadors and directors from around the world to truly listen to children and involve them in climate decisions. The exhibition ran for ten days to showcase the children's ideas that could save our planet.
In 2021, we brought the Climate Champions challenge (in partnership with CRIN and The Rights Studio) to children across the world. It tasked them with thinking up an invention to save our planet, with the main themes being biodiversity and sustainability. Nearly 800 little inventors answered the call. We handpicked a shortlist of inventions that formed the Climate Champions Top 10. They were all brought to life and exhibited at the Palais de Nations in Geneva for 10 days.
The founder of Little Inventors, Dominic Wilcox, opened the Climate Champions Exhibition in Geneva with a speech all about the power of invention and the importance of listening to children’s voices. He emphasised the imagination and spirit that children possess, which is a light that starts to dim as we grow older and become more self-conscious and stop daring to think differently. It is this innocent and limitless imagination that can come up with astounding ideas.
If we allow children to come up with solutions to the problems our world faces, they become more interested in working to protect it and in making changes today that will bring them a better tomorrow. The project is perfectly in line with the quintessential Little Inventors message: we take children’s ideas seriously. We want to use their ideas to help tackle the very serious topic that is the climate crisis.
Dominic excitedly headed to Geneva’s United Nations Office. He strolled past the beautiful Alley of the Flags and towards the Palais de Nations, where he got started setting up the Climate Champions Exhibition. All of the top 10 inventions got their own dedicated space, with detailed information and the made-real creation manufactured by its talented maker displayed.
The Compost Bee flew overhead the Exhibition, it is a spectacular 3D carboard model of an invention that minimises waste. A model of the Cow Butt Balloon was also presented, styled from the animation that brought the invention to life. It illustrated how methane can be used as energy and certainly caught the eye of each passer-by! A still from the animation depicting the invention Avión de Semillas was featured. Avión de Semillas ambitiously plants hordes of seeds from an airplane to enhance the natural landscape. A video of the animated invention Park, Move and Recharge showed viewers how children’s movement in the playground could be used to generate power.
Delightful 3D renders of The All-Weather Bike were displayed, it's a nifty vehicle that protects from the weather and protects the planet from pollution. A fully wearable model of Super Hat 2021 was shown off with pictures of its maker (and our Design Lead) Ellie trying it on. The hat is a feeding place for birds, bees, and insects to invite biodiversity. A digital illustration of The Snowflake Maker, the invention that replenishes polar bear homes to keep them solid and cold, was presented. The Convenient Bike Planter was captured in a digital image, the vehicle allows you to travel in style and plant trees as you go. Toxic Chemicals Detector provided another striking picture, the 3D render depicted how the invention stops contaminated water from flowing into our oceans. The final invention on show was Enalgae, with its 3D render portraying the device’s ability to generate sustainable energy.
Watch Dominic take you on a short tour of the Exhibition below.
Alongside Dominic’s impassioned speech imploring the influential people in attendance to listen to what our climate champions have to say, a range of speakers took to the podium to share messages with equal vigour. Ms. Tatiana Valovaya, Director-General of UN Geneva, Ms. Mikiko Otani, Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, and Lianne Minasian, Co-Director of CRIN and CRIN’s Climate Advisers, all responded to the creativity and passion of children around the world. Around 100 adience members were in attendance to listen to their points and view the Exhibition on that opening day.
Clarence Nelson is a Samoan judge and a member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. He had this to say about the Exhibition and the challenge as a whole, “we need children to keep coming up with these ideas because adults also need inspiration. The invention ideas are fantastic, just unbelievable. Children see things from a different perspective, they view the world differently and they are making a significant difference in the world. We can learn a lot from children. Children can be assured that we will not only be incorporating [into Nelson's work on children's rights and the environment] what they have told us, but we will also be using some of their ideas”.
Slovenian diplomat Anita Pipan (who also delivered a speech that day) echoed this notion of being motivated by the children, “I am very inspired and very grateful to the Exhibition organisers for bringing the perspective and the emotions and the creativity of the children to the UN. We need everybody at the table when we talk about climate change. The children’s input and their ideas can inspire us to work better. Congratulations to all of the challenge participants. I hope we see many more brilliant ideas from children”.
Zeya, one of our climate champions who invented the Cow Butt Balloon, also contributed her perspective on what it felt like to have her idea exhibited, “I wasn’t expecting to win. It felt amazing when I was chosen to be in the top 10 of more than 750 inventors. I was amazed again when I saw photos all of the people [at the Exhibition] looking at mine and other kids’ inventions. I hope they really felt inspired by those. It is important to listen to children because kids have very creative ideas that can change the world.” They were indeed inspired Zeya!
Zeya’s mum Amy also shared with us, “the whole process of the Little Inventors Climate Champions challenge has been great for Zeya! We were so excited when this idea got selected to be made real. Chloe [the maker] did such a great job on the model and animation, Zeya and I were so impressed and shared it widely with teachers, classmates, friends, and our family. Seeing it on display at the UN in Geneva was really exciting. Having people from all around the world considering a kid's idea really shows that kids can change the world".
We allowed visitors to leave messages for the inventors and makers who made the Exhibition possible. There were outpourings of gratitude and admiration for the climate champions. Those present at the event thanked the children for not giving up on our planet, for showing them the way forward, and 'making the world a better place'.