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Map the system : Guest Post by Eva Luna Tirard and William Guinaudie, Concordia University, Montreal

Map the System is an initiative of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford in partnership with educational institutions across the world. It is a global competition that asks you to think differently about social and environmental change.

SandStories invited two of the competitors from Canada to talk about their experience at the competition. In sharing their experience, we hope to document the current state of affairs and how we can bring attention to this issue that underpins our modern, digital lifestyles to look for solutions. The guest post follows:

Our experience talking about sand disappearance at the Map the System competition.

My teammate, William Guinaudie and I, Eva Luna Tirard, are studying at Concordia University in Montreal. We participated in the 2019 Map the System competition and presented the worldwide sand crisis. Map the System is a global competition organized by Oxford University, in which students map a social or environmental issue. We decided to talk about the shortage of sand as we both feel strongly about this issue and wanted to make it known it to others. For the competition, we needed to write a report and create a visual map of this environmental issue. We won the first round, meaning that we were invited to represent our university at the Canadian final in Toronto on May 5. In preparation for Toronto, we enhanced our pitch and created a powerpoint that combined science and storytelling to best captivate our audience. Even though this issue is complex, we tried to make it as clear and coherent as possible.

We received training from a professional coach the day before the finals. The coach was impressed with our pitch as we covered a subject she had never heard of and were able to clearly convey the issue in the allocated 10 minutes. We were surprised about how she had reacted, and throughout our presentations, we saw a lot of positive reactions from the audience... When presenting on stage, we quickly noticed that people were intrigued and wanted to know more about this crisis. Many of them approached us at the end of our presentations to learn more about the issue at hand. People in the crowd were eager to share this issue with their networks, which gave us a small feeling of achievement.

After the event, both of us felt the urge to share this problem with as many people as possible. It seems that most people are unaware of this crisis and therefore we believe that the opportunity to share and take action is crucial. We believe that efforts must be made to raise the awareness of the general public about this issue.  Every share, reaction, and post will help drive the sand crisis to the forefront of environmental discussions and will contribute to finding viable solutions.