Thousands of Youth Share Their Visions and Stories of “Climate Hope”
June 17, 2020

And that’s a wrap on the 2020 Ocean Awareness Contest! We have once again broken participation records, with nearly 5,300 submissions received from around the world. We celebrate the thousands of students who have created works of art, film, multimedia, music, poetry, and prose this year, and welcome them into our community of more than 13,000 youth who have participated in the Ocean Awareness Contest in the nine years since its launch.

“We have been waiting all year for this, and nothing inspires us more than to see all of the thousands of student entries from around the world. It gives us great hope to know that young people care about and are voicing change for a more just, sustainable and healthy planet.”

The 2020 Ocean Awareness Contest—Climate Hope: Transforming Crisis—invited young artists to create work that uplifts the individuals, communities and cities, organizations and movements (largely youth-led!) around the globe working to slow the climate crisis and drive the transition away from destructive, polluting, and unjust practices to systems that respect, value, and protect the diversity of life on Earth. Both the global coronavirus pandemic and growing uprisings against racism and police brutality offered students new lenses through which to interpret the theme, illuminating threads that connect climate change with public health and environmental racism. While there is much to be done to build a climate-safe future for all, the late Toni Morrison reminds us: “This is precisely the time when artists go to work.”*

We know: young people are ready.

Global map of youth artist participation in the 2020 Ocean Awareness Contest.


Map of 2020 Ocean Awareness Contest participants from the United States.

What’s next?

As we dive into the months-long process of judging, we are thrilled to introduce you to our cohort of Ocean Awareness Contest Judges, who play a critical role in helping us identify and elevate compelling and imaginative works that inspire connection to and protection of our blue planet. Ocean Awareness Contest judges are artists, writers, environmental scientists, historians, marine educators, poets, filmmakers, composers, science communicators, and classroom teachers. Meet the 2020 Judges >

We are also so excited to welcome new Alumni Judges to our team. Alumni Judges are past Ocean Awareness Contest award-winners, and are emerging visual artists, filmmakers, musicians, poets, and writers.

Our impressive judging team will be working throughout the summer, collectively putting in thousands of hours—and incalculable care and attention—to review student submissions. We look forward to announcing the 2020 Contest winners this November!

Finally, thank you to the many sponsors, teachers, parents, and adult mentors who introduced students to the program, or otherwise support their creative practice and connection to the natural world. Thank you as well to our many partners and collaborators who help share the Ocean Awareness Contest with their global networks!

Stay tuned for the launch of the 2021 Ocean Awareness Contest in early fall! We can’t wait to celebrate our 10th annual Ocean Awareness Contest with you! Join our mailing list for updates.

Featured student artwork: “The Coral Mandala : A broken balance” by Samridhi P. (Age 11, Singapore)

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Thousands of Youth Share Their Visions and Stories of “Climate Hope”

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