They are taxiing for take-off: in March, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will take off in their solar-powered aeroplane, Solar Impulse, to fly around the world without burning a single drop of fossil fuel. Along for the ride: all students taking part in a project supporting energy efficiency and carbon compensation during the year in the context of the “Energy and Climate Pioneers” initiative. The pilots have supported the initiative as project patrons since its founding in 2010. The reason for this is clear, explains Bertrand Piccard: “Solar Impulse is only in part a solar-powered aeroplane that’s flying around the world. It is also a symbol of the pioneering spirit and the possibilities that each individual carries within them.”
Following an initial briefing from myclimate and the implementation of their own environmental protection projects, students will become energy and climate pioneers. Classes participating this year also receive a mirror of the same size as one of Solar Impulse’s solar panels. The hundreds of mirrors will give the pilots additional energy: inscribed by the children and young people with the projects they carried out, they will become part of an art installation after Piccard and Borschberg’s circumnavigation. The mirrors sent in by the classes will be attached to columns, which will then be arranged in the form of a gigantic solar aeroplane. The installation will be displayed in November on a central square in Bern.
The idea for the mirror installation also came from energy and climate pioneers: Up-and-coming graphic designers Carina Roost, Claire Griffiths and Jasmin Zurfluh came up with the concept during a design contest for all students in the seventh semester of the graphics apprenticeship at the “medienformfarbe” school of design in Zurich. The three winners of the class contest then received the opportunity to develop their project and actually make the innovative idea reality. As a result of their interactions with the topic of energy and climate, Carina, Claire, Jasmin and their co-students have themselves become energy and climate pioneers.
In addition to the mirror installation, the budding energy and climate pioneers can also help Piccard and Borschberg with their circumnavigation of the globe online. At www.energie-klimapioniere.ch, each project that is carried out is represented by an additional solar cell that is activated on an image of the Solar Impulse, and this continues until the aircraft has enough cells to fly. There are likely to be quite a few of these projects, and therefore solar cells: since Swisscom founded the initiative five years ago, it has involved more than 11,000 children and adolescents. Together with its partners Solar Impulse, EnergieSchweiz and myclimate, more than 500 projects for increased energy efficiency and improved climate protection have been implemented.
School classes can still register as energy and climate pioneers at www.energie-klimapioniere.ch and thereby participate in the installation.