Trust for Sustainable Living

TSL 2021 International School Debates & Summit: PROTECTING BIODIVERSITY

Look out for further announcements as plans unfold for #TSLBiodiversity2021  

LATEST:  TSL 2021 Partner Power Protecting Biodiversity Summit Flyer

We are excited to share the LATEST outline programme for our TSL 2021 Partner Power: Protecting Biodiversity Summit, taking place 5-10 July 2021. With a focus on youth collaboration and biodiversity, we will hear from experts who will help us understand why biodiversity is important, how we measure biodiversity, how partnerships help to protect it and what actions young people and educators can take to protect biodiversity into the future. With plenaries, case studies and workshops featuring scientists, youth and projects from around the world, get ready for an exciting and inspiring summit, empowering students, teachers and schools to take action for protecting biodiversity!

Confirmed Speakers and Workshops

Dr Emma A Taylor: Investigating Biodiversity from Space

Dr Emma A Taylor (8 July) will be ‘Investigating biodiversity from Space’ and sharing how satellites can be used to monitor and protect both species and habitats, as well as considering the challenges involved in collecting space age data!

Saheed Opeyemi Adebisi: Plant Genetic Biodiversity

Faculty Member at Osun State University, Nigeria Saheed Opeyemi Adebisi will share details of his research focusing on plant genetic biodiversity, protection, conservation and sustainable development (8 July).

Alicia Valasse-Polius: Exploring Diversity through the Tanka

St. Lucian writer Alicia Valasse-Polius invites students and teachers to join her ‘Exploring Diversity through the Tanka’ and discover creative and powerful new ways to develop persuasive arguments and share their thoughts and ideas on biodiversity in this poetry workshop (8 July).

Global Youth Biodiversity Network

The Global Youth Biodiversity Network will join us for our panel discussion on Next Steps: What’s next for young people and biodiversity? (10 July).

Compass Education: Introduction to Systems Thinking with the Sustainability Compass & Using the Iceberg to Deepen our Understandings

TSL is delighted to be partnering with Compass Education, who will be facilitating two workshops for teachers and students. In a time of social distancing and distance learning, how can we support our students in finding connection to each other, the content we teach, and the complex world we live in? How do we integrate concepts of sustainability in our everyday curriculum?  Why does it matter?   By the end of these workshops, you will have powerful tools for introducing systems thinking and sustainability in the classroom and you will have an action plan that aligns with your curriculum.

Workshop 1 (7 July):  Introduction to Systems Thinking with the Sustainability Compass

This session highlights a tool called the Sustainability Compass, which engages us in systems thinking – a way of looking at the world that emphasizes interconnectivity and interdependence. Join us as we demonstrate ways that this powerful tool can integrate into your teaching and learning plans to help learners think critically and deeply about the topics they study and our global community.

Workshop 2 (9 July): Using the Iceberg to Deepen our Understandings

This session dives deep into using the Iceberg model, a systems thinking tool designed to evaluate a problem or event by examining the root causes, underlying structures and mental models that can trigger it.  As we deepen our understanding, we can develop new perspectives and more effective and sustainable solutions.

Sacha Dench, Conservation Without Borders: Taking Action for Conservation

The climate and extinction crises are here. Extreme fires, floods and global pandemics remind us that they, and we, are all connected.

Conservation Without Borders looks at these global challenges from different angles, through the eyes of migratory species, the most threatened animals on the planet. Their journeys, and the critical habitats they depend on, connect us around the world, across boundaries of nations, languages, politics…

Conservationist, adventurer and UN Ambassador for Migratory Species Sacha Dench joins us to share the story of her incredible Round Britain Climate Challenge and her upcoming Flight of The Osprey Expedition and considering how youth can get involved and take action to protect biodiversity.

Country Debates

TSL 2021 Country Debates Resource Pack:  In preparation for the 2021 summit, we invite Schools to enter into the spirit of partnership and organise their own Country Debates before the international events in July 2021. As well as giving students a chance to practice their teamwork, communication and debating skills, it also provides a great opportunity to meet other like minded students and discuss global challenges. The Country Debates are easy to organise and can be done online using platforms such as Zoom, or can be held in person, if safe to do so. For more details on how to set up and run a Country Debate, see our guidelines by clicking here TSL 2021 Country Debates Resource Pack-PROTECTING-BIODIVERSITY.  If you are the only participating school from your country but wish to take part in a Country Debate, please contact us and we can match you up with other participating schools in your region.

What is a Country Debate?

Essay Winners: We received 1350 essay entries from 59 countries for this year’s competition! Details on the Finalists and Honourable Mentions can be found on our Winners page. Our Top Prize Winners will be announced at the awards ceremonies following the International Schools Debates on 5-6 July. See which schools participated here.

International School Debaters

Highlights from 2020

The 2020 International Schools’ Debates took place on 6 July – they were open to all participants in the TSL Essay Competition and registration was free. The Debates were held online for the first time, allowing more schools to participate by eliminating barriers like high travel costs and visa restrictions, as well as reducing the carbon footprint of the event. Schools were invited to enter into the spirit of partnership and organise their own Country Debates before the international events.

#TSLPartnerPower2020 – the events below were viewed by over 0.5 million people on social media.

To help celebrate the 10th anniversary of the competition, a linked online Partner Power Summit took place on 7-10 July for those keen to keep building on the theme. The Summit featured a range of engaging workshops and inspiring speakers and panel discussions, designed to help inform and empower students, parents and teachers in a shared journey to a more sustainable world.

Video Messages to this year’s participants


Each country taking part in the Debates was represented by its four top-performing students in the Essay Competition, with all other students participating as Non-debating Students.

The online Partner Power Summit explored how young people and schools can become more involved in developing positive solutions to climate change, biodiversity loss and other global sustainability challenges.

The 2021 competition is now closed

Key dates