Why we’re running our Future Dictionary challenge

Can you create a word for the future in time for COP26?

As a nature-first school, we’ve made a commitment to the planet. In real terms, that means putting nature at the heart of things we do, whether that be as part of our Climate Course or weaving information into our tutorials. We also know, there’s always more that can be done.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference kicks off in Glasgow, on Monday 1 November 2021. Running until Friday 12 November, the conference, also known as COP26, brings together heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to agree on coordinated action to tackle climate change. Naturally, we were eager to take part…COP26 is like Christmas to AimHi!

Instead of just making another commitment or boosting our messaging around the climate crisis, we wanted to get all you HiSchoolers (our brilliant AimHi community) involved. After all, it’s crucial that we work together to help the planet. There are some incredible ideas out there and we are more than ready to discover them. Go teamwork!

So, we’ve set up The Future Dictionary Challenge. We’re asking you to think of a word for the future. It needs to climate or nature-focused. Here’s why:

Language is constantly evolving. Our world is changing, too. We are seeing the consequences of a warming climate in extreme weather events, from melting glaciers to wildfires and desertification.

In recent years, phrases such as "global warming", "greenhouse gases" and "ozone layer" have all come into common usage, along with words such as the "Anthropocene", "upcycling", "greenwashing" and "ecocide" that were not necessary concepts before now.

Our everyday language is evolving all the time too. Youth culture in particular is driving the creation of new words to keep up with social changes. Just think about ever-appearing, new slang and social media words. The first use of the word "meme" appeared in an issue of Wired in 1993, "tweeting" only meant birdsong until 2006, and until recently if you were ‘fire’, you should have probably considered jumping into a pool.

Here’s how to take part in The Future Dictionary

1. Come up with your climate or nature-focused word. Be as creative as you like.

2. Submit your word and one or more definitions to AimHi via our website. Be sure to include your up-to-date contact details and if you like, tell us your thoughts on the climate crisis. Please ensure you pick the correct age category for your entry. The categories are 5 to 11, 12 to 17, and 18 and over.

3. Sit back and wait to hear if you’ve won £100!

Have more than one word to submit? Great stuff. There’s no limit to the number of entries that you can make.

How is this judged and what is the prize?

AimHi will award prizes of £100 to the best words submitted. The top 5 will be published on social media and in partner channels, plus you’ll be invited to the We Emerge Week Summit.

A panel of young people along with environmental experts including Sir Tim Smit, founder of the Eden Project, and Polly Toynbee, the acclaimed Guardian columnist and social commentator, will judge the words you submit.

For some inspiration, check out this doc. Submit here: www.aimhi.co/challenges

Good luck!

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