So you've got a great idea? 


To complete your application: 1) choose the climate solution category below that best reflects your idea from the list below, 2) explain your solution in a 800-word essay, and 3) develop a creative depiction/visual aid of your solution.

1) Choose a Climate Solution Category:

Climate change solutions are advancing on several fronts. Identify a category from the list below that is applicable in your local community and where you think youth can have a leading role:

  1. Public Policy: Outline a new or expand upon an existing local or state policy that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote equity. Examples include carbon pricing and divestment.  

  2. Business Plan: Share a business approach that fosters inclusive economic growth while tackling climate change. Ideas can range from starting a new company to promoting corporate responsibility.

  3. Urban and Land Use Planning: Develop a detailed plan to improve cities or rural communities in a way that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Ideas include plans for city design or sustainable agriculture.

  4. Science and Technology: Offer recommendations for specific scientific research or technical developments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Examples include carbon capture and scientific research into new biofuels.

  5. Activism: Present an effective grassroots activism strategy or campaign plan that can help break through the climate change gridlock. Examples include a strategy behind a march or a city council resolution strategy.

2) Explain Your Solution in an Essay

Please write an 800-word essay describing your solution. A complete  essay will incorporate the following questions in the response.

  • What is your solution and what makes it unique?

  • How does your solution reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

  • How will the solution improve your community?

  • How will your solution engage young people?

  • How does your solution address equity disparities?

  • How will your solution be implemented and approximately how much does it cost to do so?  

  • Can your solution expand, be replicated, or serve as a model for others to follow? If so, how?

  • What evidence or research supports your climate solution?

3) Showcase Your Solution Creatively

This section allows you to describe your proposal in a format that more creatively reflects your passion, connection to the proposal, and own experiences. Select ONE of the mediums below to present your proposal.

  • Art: Create a piece of art either by hand or digitally to reflect or symbolize your climate solution. Handmade art examples include drawing, painting, and sculpture. Digital art examples include photography, graphic design, data visualization, and blueprints.

  • Music and Spoken Word: Record yourself singing a description of your proposal or a song related to your solution. (Max 2 mins).

  • Creative Writing Project: Produce a piece of poetry or a personal narrative reflecting the purpose and details of your proposal. (Max 500 words).

  • Video: Record a short campaign video, commercial, or other video format describing your proposal. The video needs to be uploaded to Youtube. (2 min max).

  • Opinion Piece:  Write and publish a short opinion news piece connecting the solution to your own story and a current event. Self-publishing options, such as Medium, are also permitted. (Max 650  words).

The Visual/Creative Section can be submitted as a PDF file of the visual or creative writing piece, the Youtube link to a video, an MP4 of a music file, etc.

Submission Checklist

A complete application will include the following deliverable items:

  • Contact Information Form (this is where you will indicate your Solutions Category)

  • 800-word essay in PDF format

  • Creative / visual contribution

Please refer to the Scoring and Criteria page for more information about how our contest judges will assess these submission.

How to submit Your Proposal

The Written Section PDF and the Visual/Creative Section should be emailed in one email to In the subject of the email please include your first name, last name, solutions category, and write “YouthStepUp Contest”.

The Contact Information form is here.

All applications must be submitted by August 8th, 2018 at 11:59pm PT.