Students plan for a sustainable Waterloo Region through Energize: Sustainable City Challenge

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Students across the Region attended the Waterloo-Wellington Science and Engineering Fair (WWSEF) yesterday, an annual event that brings together young scientific minds in the region to compete and participate in exciting activities. As part of the event, over 200 students participated in the Energize: Sustainable City Challenge, a tool for students to improve their energy literacy, understand the complexity of climate change and decision-making for climate targets, and gain resources to become sustainability champions in Waterloo Region.

The gameplay includes a large board with tiles that represent Waterloo Region’s current and future energy use in the residential, workplace, and transportation sectors. Accompanying the board are a variety of cards to play that can be played to ‘replace’ existing energy infrastructure.

In the first round, students were challenged to reduce emissions by 80% below 2015 levels, from 4002 to 800 kilotonnes, with no financial or practical limitations. Almost all student groups were able to reduce emissions well below the 800 kilotonne limit by making drastic changes to current energy use. However, the second round challenged students to think about the feasibility and practicality of their choices. Would they really be able to successfully convince over 150,000 people to give up their car in favour of walking or cycling? This round sparked some interesting innovations, as students used Wild Cards to propose creative ideas for future technologies. After the students were satisfied with their board, the third round introduced some curve balls to see how students would adapt to large policy changes and technical innovations.

 Sustainable City Challenge board game

Students enjoyed the activity and proposed some very inventive ideas to meet our climate change reduction targets in Waterloo Region. More importantly, the activity introduced students to the complex challenges ahead, while inspiring creativity and innovation to address these challenges.

The Energize: Sustainable City Challenge was developed in partnership with Climate Action Waterloo Region (CAWR), the Faculties of Environment and Engineering at UWaterloo, Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI), Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) and the Sustainability Office at UWaterloo.

For more information, please visit Energize: Sustainable City Challenge.