Here are the winners
in the Climate Champion Profiles Challenge!
Journalism mentor Anca Iosif (top left) and author Patricia Cîrtog of Romania get the good news about Patricia’s gold award for her profile of park creator Florin Stoican.
Scroll down for full results.
Teenagers worldwide were invited to profile a Climate Champion, someone who they knew had impact through "moving the needle" with one or more projects that take us closer to saving the planet, in this journalistic storytelling challenge organized by Global Youth & News Media and the global educational news service News Decoder.
Authors of the most outstanding work will get coaching and publication by News Decoder, an international nonprofit news service based in France, plus a cash prize.
All the entries were by authors ages 14 through 19.
The challenge was supported by the European Commission as part of its Erasmus+ program and by The New Earth Foundation.
THE GOLD AWARD WINNER
Patricia Cîrtog took the top award in the challenge. She profiled Romanian geologist Florin Stoican — who established the country’s first citizen-led national park.
She is a psychology student at Facultatea de Psihologie si Stiinte ale Educatiei - UBB in Romania
THE SILVER AWARD WINNERS
There were six silver level winners, whose profiles appeared in News Decoder (links to published profiles in blue).
INDIA - Samaya Chauhan of Amity International School, Pushp Vihar, New Delhi for a profile of Ved Krishna, an Indian entrepreneur who has created a worldwide business in biodegradable cutlery and packaging made from sugarcane harvesting waste
INDIA - Sanjana Chauhan of Amity International School, Noida, Uttar Pradesh for a profile of Sushil Vaishnav, whose Ecoil company transforms used cooking oil into biofuel
INDONESIA - Awang Winnetou and Abhisheka Chandraka Tantra of One Earth School (Indonesia) for a profile of Anand Krishna, who is changing mindsets in support of the environment.
SLOVENIA - Mia Baškovič of Prva riječka hrvatska gimnazija (PRHG) for a profile of Matea Benedetti of Slovenia, who creates sustainable luxury fashion with a global impact
USA - Ali Cappola of The Baldwin School for a profile of Adam Fishman, whose Onora effort is also changing mindsets in support of the environment.
USA - Ivy Lam and Andie Korenge of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for a profile of Andrea (Annie) Kritcher, the principal designer on a team at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory that produced fusion ignition in a laboratory for the first time.
THE SHORT-LISTED PROFILES
Eleven entries from Belgium, Hungary, India, Luxembourg, Poland and the United States were short-listed in the competition. These will be published by the authors in various outlets, including the Ground Control feature of The Writing's on The Wall Project..
BELGIUM Jule and Caroline for a profile of Maryam Bakhsh
HUNGARY - Bence, Péter, Dávid and Díana for a profile of Anna Kovács
INDIA - Maitreyi and Sri for a profile of Vasuki Iyengar
INDIA - Sparsh for a profile of Avani Mohan Singh
LUXEMBOURG - Alice for a profile of Gowtham Kanagaraj
POLAND - Dominika and Jakub for a profile of Łukasz Chrostowski
POLAND - Barbara and Ola for a profile of Dorota Żmudzińska
POLAND - Ignacy for a profile of Richard Kinley
USA - Ivy and Andie for a profile of Doug Berven
USA - Truitt for a profile of Alan Laubsch
USA - Batya for a profile of Heather Wilson
NOTE: We publish the full names of authors within a category only if the full name and permission is provided for all of them.
Jazmin Acuña (Paraguay) editor of El Surtidor, a 2019 Planet Award laureate of the Global Youth & News Media Prize
Marcy Burstiner (Ireland and USA) News Decoder educational news director
Nick Clark (UK) chief environment editor for Al Jazeera English
Johnny Dabrowski (Poland) EarthDay.org coordinator of the Climate Education Coalition
Lauren Heuser (Canada) founder/publisher of Canadian Affairs News Inc (mid 2023 launch) and former News Decoder chief strategy officer
Malgorzata ”Gosia” Luszczek (Denmark), director of Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE)
Katina Paron (USA) founding director of the Institute for Environmental Reporting, author of A Newshounds’ Guide to Student Reporting and longtime champion of youth reporting
Sue Phillips (France) a News Decoder Trustee, veteran BBC and Al Jazeera newsroom leader, founder of the Wildlife Workshop and a patron of the Borneo Nature Foundation
Rory Rusnak (Ireland) founder of Youth for Positive Change
Rina Tsubaki (Belgium) head of Lookout Station scientist-journalist training for the European Forest Institute
Cathy Watson (Kenya), head of partnerships at the World Agroforestry Centre CIFOR-ICRAF
THEY SAID IT
Marcy Burstiner, juror, News Decoder Editorial News Director: "The entries were both inspiring and impressive. The contest fulfilled its purpose: to provide an opportunity for young people to tell us about all the amazing people there are around the world who are finding creative solutions to the climate change crisis."
Dr (Mrs) Amita Chauhan, chairperson of the Amity Group of Schools told Education World: “These young writers have brought to us inspiring stories of climate champions who are leaving no stone unturned to make the planet cleaner and greener. Journalism interwoven with education is the accelerating force for empowering young minds with creativity and a sense of responsibility. The Global Times, Amity’s student newspaper, is constantly pushing the envelope to nurture writers with passion and originality, and this award is a great validation of its success.” (Two Amity students received silver awards with the profile by a third student's short-listed in the challenge.)
Lauren Heuser, juror, founder of Canadian Affairs News: "I love that this competition challenged young people to explore global challenges in a constructive way, by identifying and speaking with leaders and experts around the world who are working to tackle big issues. The youth who participated in this competition came away with critical thinking and communication skills that they are unlikely to learn in the classroom."
Aralynn McMane, project director, Global Youth & News Media Executive Director: "We purposely made this assignment difficult, asking teenagers to find people as profile subjects who they could defend as truly ‘moving the needle’ in actions to save the planet. We felt it was important to take such a solutions journalism approach to provide both rigor and hope."
THE PROJECT AND THE PARTNERS
The challenge is part of The Writing’s on the Wall project in cooperation with The Climate Academy based at the European School Brussels II (Belgium) as well as News Decoder and is supported by the Erasmus+ program of the European Union and The New Earth Foundation (USA).
Full details about the other aspects of the project are at www.thewriingsonthewall.org
has created how-to videos about how to tell a story, how to do an interview and, especially useful for this competition, how to create a compelling podcast.
is offering an Ecologues series of climate-focused webinars with the American Library of Paris in which experts young and old from around the world will discuss and debate key issues such as the energy transition, food security and climate justice, guided by questions from young people.
is reinforcing its already top-notch coverage of the climate crisis.
THE CLIMATE ACADEMY is providing a “Rough Guide to the Climate Crisis” by Matthew Pye, philosophy teacher and founder of the Climate Academy. He examines the science and impact of the climate crisis through psychology, philosophy and sociology in a series of compact, entertaining and informative videos [about 10 minutes each] with accompanying chapters to elaborate on the video content. A teachers’ guide will also be available.
Section 4 (video and chapter) treats the CUTx index, which offers a powerful and easy reference point to assess any nation’s climate commitment. That installment is a must-see to get a sense of the level of the challenge for a Climate Champion Profile competition subject’s country.
In addition, News Decoder and The Climate Academy welcome other kinds of content from youth in a “Ground Control” youth media space.
HERE'S WHAT IT WAS ALL ABOUT:
The mission wasto profile someone who has had success in one or more projects taking us closer to saving the planet. These were individuals in communities across the globe who are disrupting or “moving the needle”: making a difference in stopping climate change by launching or carrying out projects that make real progress towards removing carbon, lowering emissions or passing climate change legislation.
This challenge was open to teenage journalists (ages 13 trough 19) from anywhere in the world. A teacher or youth journalism coordinator registered for the challenge on behalf of the teenage author(s), agreed to the terms and conditions of the challenge and submitted entries.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
This challenge was part of The Writing's on the Wall project. Our partners News Decoder and The Climate Academy have made some excellent resources (see below), and we've gathered tips for how to avoid disaster when recording an interview.
Click on the links
to access the materials.