Climate Change Guide for Kids wins Rep. Brian Higgins’ 2022 Congressional App Challenge in New York’s 26th District

Rep. Brian Higgins has named Shivm Mehta, a Ninth Grader at Williamsville East High School, as the winner of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in New York’s 26th District.

When asked what inspired the creation of Climate Change Guide for Kids, the student said, ”Climate Change is one of the world’s biggest problems and is worsening by the day. Since the Industrial Age, technology and inventions have led to an increase in the amount of greenhouse gasses released in the atmosphere, causing a rise in the average temperature of Earth. This has the potential for catastrophes, and people are already starting to see some of the negative effects. Even though this is a very important and urgent topic, I believe there is a lack of awareness. Most people, especially young people, don’t have sufficient knowledge about climate change. While some things are out of control for most people, there are actions and smarter choices that all people can take to help the environment. While doing research on this topic, I came to the conclusion that there is a lack of information directed towards and accessible by children and teenagers. It is essential for their younger generation to know about this problem. They are the future generation that will have to deal with the devastating consequences of climate change. Also, children are able to convince their parents and have a big influence on relatives, causing a greater awareness about this topic and research towards it. After conducting a survey among 150 kids in my middle school, I concluded that most kids don’t know what to do and how they can make a difference, while others are not aware of the problem and the consequences of their actions. The younger generation wants to help, but doesn’t know how. Therefore, I decided to create an app to educate the average middle or high schooler about how our actions are hurting our precious planet and how they can make smarter choices to help fix this overlooked problem. Children have to understand this topic so they can grow up making smart decisions and influencing others. For example, let’s assume that there is 75 million children in the US. If they each encouraged their family to take one less flight a year, that’s 137,250,000 tons of carbon a year in the United States alone being saved. With such a high upside, it is essential that people do what they can to help climate change, and educating children, the future generation, is a great way to do this.”

The Congressional App Challenge smashed previous participation records in 2022. All told, 9,011 students registered for this year’s competition – creating 2,707 fully-functioning apps for 335 Members of Congress across 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the District of Columbia. This year’s competition set the record for most student registrations, most apps submitted, most apps per district submitted, and most districts receiving over 20 apps. The wildly successful competition continues to impress upon House Members the importance of computer science education and the need to develop a pipeline of diverse, domestic STEM talent. 

The Congressional App Challenge is an official initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Members of Congress host contests in their districts for middle school and high school students, encouraging them to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science. Each participating Member of Congress selects a winning app from their district, and each winning team is invited to showcase their winning app to Congress during our annual #HouseOfCode festival. The program is a public-private partnership made possible through funding from Omidyar Network, AWS, Rise, theCoderSchool, Apple, and others.

The 2023 Congressional App Challenge will launch in June of 2023, and eligible students can pre-register for the competition now.