It’s STEM Club’s last session before Easter and the members are eagerly doing a STEM-related Easter treasure hunt when I sit down with Professor Becky Parker in one of the science labs. 

I’ve been intrigued by her talk of the upcoming Youth Earthshot initiative, affiliated with the Earthshot Prize, and she kindly agreed to let me interview her about it. For Professor Parker, Youth Earthshot is a “mechanism to support young people doing amazing research for the planet.” She continues to search up the five areas of the Earthshot Prize for me: Protect and Restore Nature, Clean Our Air, Revive Our Oceans, Build a Waste-Free World, and Fix Our Climate. 

She tells me that they have currently assembled a group of about fifty “amazing advisors from across the world”, and she hopes this will become an “international thing”.  

Professor Parker has always been incredible in supporting every student-related project in school, whether it be drama productions, music concerts, STEM or more.  

“[They are] the most creative and imaginative...anybody is.”  

Youth Earthshot helps brings students’ “amazing ideas to fruition”. In the first phase, students submit a 3-minute film proposal, but it aims to launch properly this September. 

I ask her how it developed.  

“I said, surely there should be a youth version of the Earthshot prize. My take was that there’s no mechanism to support students across the world, so that’s why I got together this advisory group...It’s really going to take off.  

I’m hoping by the time we launch in September that we’ll have 100 advisors.” 

Her animated tone and delight convey her passion in Youth Earthshot, and I find myself getting excited too. It’s clear this is something she really believes in, but then again, Professor Parker has always believed in everything and everyone. It’s one of the reasons why she’s truly an incredible teacher, supporter and mentor. 

She mentions the Institute for Research In Schools that she founded too as she talks. “I know that young people have the best creativity and imagination. Why don’t we empower them to have some agency and ability to have their voices heard and their thoughts genuinely respected within this climate crisis?” 

Upon asking where she sees this going in the future, she has full belief that it’s going to be huge. But how will they run that? 

“Currently, we’ve got a small team and we are hoping that once we get going we will get support in. We’ve already had interest from various universities across the world saying they want to host for school students for their region. 

We envision in future years having showcases...across the world.” 

By now, half the teams have completed the Easter hunt, and we wrap up the interview. But I’m left with empowering excitement that Youth Earthshot will champion young people globally to make the change happen themselves. Professor Parker has helped inspire my own interest in environmentalism.  

“There will be amazing ideas, but they might be repeated across the world. So we want to be able to bring students together. 

And how cool would that be?”