REGIONAL EARTH DAY 2002

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SOUTH PACIFIC APPLIED GEOSCIENCE COMMISSION (SOPAC) GOVERNING COUNCIL 31ST ANNUAL SESSION Suva, Fiji Islands

News Release October 8, 2002

COMPETITION WINNER - KIRIBATI

The winner for World Earth Day 2002 Competition, "Energy Wizards of the 21st Century" was announced at the 31st Annual Session of SOPAC Governing Council. The Regional Winner was announced to be King George Fifth and Elaine Bernacchi School, Kiribati.

King George Fifth and Elaine Bernacchi School, Kiribati was awarded two prizes for the Earth Day 2002 Competition organised by the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) under its regional energy programme. The Regional Prize of AUSD 830 was awarded for being the overall winner out of the four countries that participated in the competition and AUSD 400 for being the National Winner of the participating schools in Kiribati.

SOPAC Secretariat presented the World Earth Day 2002 competition prize, a bank draft of AUSD 1230 to Mr. Maruia Kamatie, Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources Development, Kiribati for the winning school during the 31st Annual Session of SOPAC Governing Council hosted by Nauru held at the Forum Secretariat, Fiji from 25th September to 2nd October 2002. The paper for Results of the Earth Day 2002 Competition convened by SOPAC was presented at the Science Technology and Resources Network (STAR) during the Annual Session, 2002 held at the University of the South Pacific, Fiji.

Earth Day, April 22nd is now widely celebrated around the world, as a collective expression of public will to create a sustainable society. Linking citizens' activities, Earth Day aims to educate and motivate people worldwide with the view to improving the environment.

The activity selected for World Earth Day 2002 was a schools energy conservation project competition called, "Energy Wizards of the 21st Century" which focused on the importance of conserving and using energy more efficiently in schools through an initiative that focussed on educational and an awareness programme. This activity was primarily designed to identify areas where basic energy conservation and efficiency measures (such as switching lights and air conditioners off when not needed) could be applied so as to demonstrate energy and monetary savings through a participatory or hands on approach.

The competition guidelines prepared by SOPAC provided a step-by-step guide on how to carry out an energy audit as a team. These were circulated to energy contacts in the region and acted as standard for the participating schools.

The competition started on 02 April 2002 and ended on 07 July 2002. The competition activities covered 9 weeks within this 14 weeks window. The donors of the competition were NZ High Commission (Fiji), UN Theme Group (Samoa), Mobil Oil (regional Office, Fiji), FSP (FIJI), Taiwan, and SOPAC.

Three project reports each from Cook Islands (Titikaveka College), Fiji (Mahatma Gandhi Memorial High School), Kiribati (King George Fifth & Elaine Bernacchi School) were received.

The three reports received were all well written and reflected the hard work and time put into the project report. A regional winner was established following standard marking criteria for all reports. The Regional Winner was awarded to King George Fifth & Elaine Bernacchi School (KGV & EBS) - Kiribati. KGV and EBS, they also won the National Winner prize. The National Winner for Fiji was awarded to Mahatma Gandhi Memorial High School and the National Winner for Cook Islands was awarded to Titikaveka High School.

"Energy Wizards of the 21st Century" effectively reached its objective - "to promote energy conservation and efficiency in the Pacific Islands through education and awareness." It is noteworthy that the education and awareness has to be ongoing to reach out to the public at large. As a follow up to the competition an energy audit guide primarily for students in the Pacific Islands - "Energy Auditing Made Easy" was published. The user-friendly guide is designed to be used as a framework to help carry out an energy audit of electricity consumption in a residential, commercial and institutional buildings.

The main observation from the "Energy Wizards of the 21st Century" was that there is a need in the Pacific for the effective delivery of basic education that includes and promotes the sustainable use and management of natural resources and the environment through energy conservation and efficiency programmes.

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