2022 Theme | THE FUNNY THING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE
A CREATIVE CHALLENGE FOR TEENS WORLDWIDE
The 2022 Ocean Awareness Contest—THE FUNNY THING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE—challenges students to learn about climate change and its impact on the ocean, and to explore new ways to communicate the urgency of the climate crisis. We are looking for innovative pieces that challenge our expectations for what climate change messaging should look like. How can you talk about climate change in a fresh way? How can you capture attention without sacrificing your message?
Knock Knock… Who’s There? Climate Action
The ocean makes life on Earth possible, and it is one of our biggest tools to fight climate change. The ocean helps regulate our climate and absorbs heat, and currents distribute that heat around the globe. Photosynthetic organisms like phytoplankton and kelp remove heat-trapping carbon dioxide. Sea ice reflects the sun’s radiation back out of our atmosphere. We need to protect our ocean if we are to have a chance at reversing climate change.
With warming happening even faster than scientists previously thought, catastrophic changes are happening on Earth. Glaciers are melting and contributing to sea level rise. Coral reefs are bleaching and ocean chemistry is changing, making a more hostile environment for the animals that call the ocean home and causing biodiversity to plummet. On land, we are experiencing floods, droughts, wildfires, and more intense hurricanes than ever before.
It’s a dire situation which is made worse by misinformation, divisiveness, and apathy. What tools do we have to kickstart action to protect our blue planet?
A fish walks into a sandbar…
Humor, satire, and irony are powerful communication tools. Yes, even for an issue as serious as climate change. Studies have shown that humor can break down barriers, empower people, and instill hope. In other words, humor is disarming and provides a safe way for people to approach and understand divisive topics like climate change. Humor and satire capture attention… they are effective ways to make sure your message is heard.
We are inundated with the scary realities of climate change, which can make us feel helpless, hopeless, and overwhelmed. Approaching climate change from a fresh perspective can help alleviate climate anxiety and build resilience. How can we use humor, and other unfamiliar and unexpected approaches, to discuss something as serious as climate change without minimizing or undermining it?
What are innovative ways to creatively communicate about climate change? Consider:
- and more! The world is your oyster!
The Funny Thing About Climate Change Prompt
Use humor, positivity, irony, or other unconventional approaches that are not typically used in environmental communication to address the climate crisis. Think outside the tackle-box, beyond clichés, to create something that makes the topic of climate change and our oceans more approachable and accessible.
This prompt is meant to inspire and guide you. Please feel free to expand on it—do not feel limited. Explore our Resource Studio for inspiration and start creating!
Note: we know humor often breaks social norms and defies our expectations. We welcome you to push those boundaries, but please make sure that your piece is suitable for audiences of all ages. Racism, sexism, and homophobia will not be tolerated, and submissions that present any prejudices will be immediately disqualified from the Contest.
Who May Enter
Students ages 11-18 from around the world are invited to participate in the Ocean Awareness Contest. Enter the division based on your age at the time of entry:
- Junior Division: Age 11-14
- Senior Division: Age 15-18
Students can participate as an individual or as a club, class, or group of any size. All students must provide the contact information for an Adult Sponsor (teacher, parent, mentor, etc.) Students who have started college or university are not eligible to participate in the Contest.
Submissions are accepted in:
- Visual Art
- Poetry & Spoken Word
- Creative Writing
- Performing Arts: Music & Dance
- Interactive & Multimedia
Please review all submission requirements carefully.
CONTEST DEADLINE: JUNE 13, 2022How to Enter
- Gain knowledge about climate change and its relationship to and impact on the ocean. Dive into Bow Seat’s Resource Studio to learn more about the issues; find artists and organizations taking action to protect our blue planet; and discover ways that you can get involved.
- Grow your skills in communication, critical thinking, creativity, and environmental advocacy. Use your artwork to raise awareness for critical environmental issues.
- Build your portfolio and make art in your preferred medium, or practice a new one! Add to your resume with a participation certificate.
- Showcase your talents worldwide. Through art exhibitions, publications, social media campaigns, and scholarships, Bow Seat uplifts diverse youth voices to advance dialogue and participation in ocean conservation and advocacy.
- Join Bow Seat’s global community of 24,000+ young people who care about the ocean, environmental justice, and climate action. Be inspired by the work of other young creators around the world.
- Be eligible for special opportunities, like the Future Blue Youth Council, a diverse group of young people working together to advance Bow Seat’s mission and to empower fellow peers to advocate for the environment.
- Earn cash awards of up to $1,500!
2021 Contest Update:
The Bow Seat team and our amazing crew of judges have been busy reviewing the almost 6,000 entries we received in the 2021 Ocean Awareness Contest. We take pride in the amount of care and thought we put into the judging process, which takes months to complete as a result. 2021 Contest winners will be announced in mid-November, and all participants and adult sponsors will be notified through the email addresses provided in the submission form.