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First meeting for youngsters at Sony’s European R&D Headquarters

Published on 23 June 2009

The winning team of youngsters, who beat over 140,000 other entrants to the global innovation competition on climate change, visiting Sony's European HQ for their first meeting
The winning team, who beat over 140,000 other entrants with their idea for an early wildfire warning system
Sony works with young winners to beat growing wildfire threat

A group of kids from California have beaten over 140,000 other entrants to a global innovation competition on climate change with their idea to battle the devastation of forest fires with an early warning system utilising CCTV and internet technology.

The finals of the competition, taking place in Copenhagen in May, caught the attention of Sony Europe, and the Forest Guards project was so impressive that Sony is now working with the winners to develop the idea with its Research & Development centre in Basingstoke, UK, to produce a working prototype.

Forest fires destroy millions of acres of land every year across the globe, and are increasing in intensity and appearing in more geographical locations than ever before. Scientists believe, due to climate change, that areas that have not traditionally suffered from wildland fires will fall victim to them as global temperatures rise. The size and scale of fires in areas known for susceptibility to them, like Europe, Australia and the USA (California particularly) have dramatically increased in recent years.

Though it is widely accepted that forest and wildland fires have benefits to the regeneration of vegetation in the areas they commonly occur, the growth of these fires is causing devastation on a massive scale in cultivated and populated areas across the globe. Forest fires also cause massive amounts of CO2 emissions, making them an

Systems providing earlier warning of wildfire save lives and homes, and will be in ever greater demand as climate change increases the frequency of fires
Systems providing earlier warning of wildfire will save lives and homes
increasing source of pollutants to our atmosphere and perpetuating the global issue of climate change.

The Forest Guards team is now going to be working with Morgan David, Sony's R&D Divisional Director at its European HQ to begin the next steps of producing a working prototype of their idea that crowned them winners of the "Climate Action" award at the 2009 Children's Climate Call competition in Copenhagen.

The team will then be working to produce the prototype in time for the UN COP15 conference, also being held in Copenhagen in December, to demonstrate the power of the next generation to solve some of the world's climate change issues.

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