Pupils from schools across Ireland are being encouraged to take part in a €200,000 sustainability competition.

The Earth Prize was created by The Earth Foundation, a non-profit organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland, founded by Kildare native Peter McGarry.

The Irish father-of-four was inspired by his own children's enthusiasm for the environment, in particular seeing his daughter taking part in the school strikes for climate.

The global competition rewards teams whose projects have potential to address the environmental problems facing societies across the globe, with the winning team receiving a €100,000 prize to be split between the team members and their school, while the three runner-up teams receive €25,000.

Teachers are also in with a chance to be recognized as the Educator of the Year with an award of €10,000.

Mr McGarry said: "It can be easy to feel a sense of resignation about climate change and that there is nothing we can do, especially for young people who can have so little control over the decisions being made around them.

"I knew that through mentoring and access to the right resources, we could come up with sustainability solutions that can make a difference. The Earth Prize is all about giving young people access to those resources so they can have a positive impact on the world around them."

Last year, 516 schools across 114 countries and territories took part in the competition.

The winning team in Vietnam came up with a fully biodegradable sanitary pad made out of dragon fruit peels - the "Adorbsy pad" - which should degrade in only 6 to 8 months, as opposed to the widely used plastic ones which take up to 800 years to decompose, and clog landfills.

Students aged 13-19 have until 30 November to sign up at www.theearthprize.org.