Climate change is already here,  You can help! 

Join the Innovate to Mitigate Challenge

Design and test a method to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere


  • Build a team

  • Share your creativity

  • Design your future

  • $1,000 in prizes!


The Problem: Despite strong evidence that continually rising CO2 emissions will lead to unacceptable or even catastrophic warming and climate disruption in our lifetimes, the CO2 keeps pouring out.  While governments struggle to slow CO2 inputs to the atmosphere, others are focused on removing CO2 to limit the damage. Innovations – by scientists, by industry, by inventors - are happening, but not fast or extensively enough. No good idea should go unexamined, including yours! 


The Challenge: Develop and test a prototype method to mitigate rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere through sequestering carbon1 or reducing emissions2.


How do you sign up?

You will work in a team of 2-5 people, so you will need to recruit others to work with. To send in a preliminary application, your team needs to brainstorm ideas about the challenge. See our website for inspiration! Do you want to take an engineering approach? Are you interested in working with people on an effective way to change their behavior? Do you want to design and test a way to use algae to capture carbon dioxide?  There are many possibilities out there!  Once you’ve brainstormed with your team, secure your spot by sending in the application form letting us know of your team's interest. We know your ideas for a project might change later, so the preliminary idea you send it just needs to indicate a general intent.


How will you participate?
With approval from your teacher, you can participate for course credit. You can also participate as a member of an afterschool team or science club, or as an independent team. You will need to recruit a local sponsor or “coach” e.g., a teacher, parent, neighbor, who will help your team with planning, staying on track, perhaps finding a space to work in, and other logistics. They do not need to have a science background. We will provide each team with $200 for supplies and other necessities, and be in touch frequently to encourage you, to make sure you are enjoying yourselves and have what you need. At the end of the challenge, you will create a short video and a poster to present your project in an online conference.


How will you get help?

We will match your team with a graduate student mentor doing research in a related field of science who will check in weekly to help you problem-solve and to provide needed scientific information, if needed.   You will be able to visit the project website often to find relevant information, pose questions to scientist experts, keep track of your work in an online lab notebook, and post progress reports. You will be able to get help anywhere else as well, e.g., the internet, or solicit help from your peers or allies via social media.


How long will it take?

The challenge will take 4 months. During that time, you can spend as much time as you want or need to work on it.


How will you know you’ve been successful?

We will provide rubrics for your poster and video presentation, focused on scientific innovation, the quality of your data, how you use data as evidence to support your solution to the challenge and the quality of your presentation. Your team’s effort will be scored two ways. Votes from 3 science judges, and from the Innovate to Mitigate community itself – you – will decide the winners of several cash prizes.  There is $1,000 in prize money.


Carbon sequestration

-Land carbon sink (plant trees, create biochar or charcoal, no-till planting, create wetlands)

-Protecting existing sinks (wetlands, forests)

-Biofixation (plant or microbial biotechnology, e.g., artificial photosynthesis, “green walls”)

-Increase biological efficiency through genetic engineering

Emissions reduction

-Green fuels (solar, wind, biofuels)

-Increase efficiency (buildings, machines, human operations, batteries

-Alternative transportation methods or systems

-Behavioral modifications