The 12th annual Ocean Awareness Contest is a platform for young people to learn about environmental issues through art-making and creative communication, explore their relationship to a changing world, and become advocates for positive change. Students ages 11-18 from around the world are invited to participate.
2023 Theme | Climate Heroes in Action
A CREATIVE CHALLENGE FOR TEENS WORLDWIDE
The 2023 Ocean Awareness Contest – Climate Heroes in Action – encourages students to learn about both climate change and solutions to the climate crisis. We want to celebrate the work of countless everyday heroes fighting to make the world more habitable and just in the face of human-induced climate change. These heroes are leading with determination, resolve, and even joy to create a better world for us all.
Moving Beyond the Bad News
Climate change impacts our oceans in a multitude of ways: extreme weather events, unprecedented coral bleaching, and rising sea levels, to name a few. As oceans play a critical role in regulating our climate and act as a buffer to protect us from global warming, the health of our oceans is tied to human health, whether we live on the coast or hundreds of miles inland.
The media – whether a newspaper, broadcast, or TikTok – tends to focus on the negative. These stories get clicks and attract interest. Yes, climate change is the greatest threat that our blue planet is facing right now, but it is easy to doomscroll through this bad news and miss optimistic stories. There are reasons to feel hope for the future. We live in a world with scary problems, but we also live in a world with real climate solutions.
“The climate problem is getting worse, but the solutions are getting better.”
—Gregory Nemet, Lead Author, IPCC Sixth Assessment Report
Scientists, activists, artists, and educators are creating radical and innovative solutions in response to these environmental threats. Their work is far-reaching and impactful but is often not covered in the mainstream news. It’s easier to see a positive path forward when we understand the steps that people are already taking to get us there. Recognizing, uplifting, and celebrating their work allows us to imagine a better world and inspires us to take action.
Not All Heroes Wear Capes
A climate hero can take many forms. Whether they are developing new technologies, advocating for environmental justice, or raising awareness through art, they are all fighting to alleviate and reverse the effects of climate change. There is a large and robust global community working to solve climate problems and forge a path towards a more livable and sustainable world.
For the 2023 Contest, we encourage you to follow what interests you – science, activism, justice, art, education, technology, and more – and uplift a trailblazer in that field who is making strides to fight climate change. We recommend that you look beyond the big names and share the story of an everyday hero in the climate movement. Look for initiatives in your community and beyond – who is spearheading them? How can we amplify their work?
Climate Heroes in Action Prompt
Research and choose an inspirational scientist, activist, artist, educator, or other hero who is working to solve climate change issues. Create a piece of art, writing, or media that highlights their efforts, organizations, and/or positive impacts. We are familiar with the amazing work of environmental giants like Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough. We challenge you to introduce the Bow Seat community to a Climate Hero whose work we may not know about yet – but should.
What is a climate hero? Climate heroes are real people doing amazing work to make a difference for our blue planet! There is no one way to be a climate hero: they can be scientists, artists, activists, community organizers, etc. One thing they all share in common is the belief that the climate crisis can be reversed if we all contribute our skills and commitment.
Perhaps you already know who you will feature, but if you don’t, here are some tips to help you choose your climate hero!
Explore our Resource Studio to get inspired, discover Climate Heroes, and start creating!
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, 2023How 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 nearly 30,000 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. Past program participants also serve as Bow Seat interns and Contest judges!
- Earn cash awards of up to $1,500!