2024 Theme | Tell Your Climate Story
A CREATIVE CHALLENGE FOR TEENS WORLDWIDE
The 2024 Ocean Awareness Contest – Tell Your Climate Story – encourages you to become a climate witness and share your own unique climate story. We are asking you to creatively express your personal experiences, insights, or perceptions about our changing climate reality. Use this opportunity to learn about the climate crisis and how it impacts your family and community, and to examine your individual responses to our evolving world. The Contest deadline is June 10, 2024.
Climate Change is Here
We all experience climate change differently depending on where we live. As global temperatures rise, our weather patterns change, causing heat waves, drought, flooding, hurricanes, and more. While Kenya endured a fifth year of drought, Pakistan experienced unprecedented floods. Wildfires in Canada and the US have become a regular summer occurrence, but for islands in the Pacific, like Kiribati, sea level rise threatens their land and freshwater resources.
Perhaps you did not get any snow days last year due to an uncharacteristically warm winter, or you couldn’t go to the beach due to harmful algal blooms. Maybe your favorite animal is at risk of losing its habitat, or your favorite foods are becoming harder to find at the grocery store. These are all symptoms of climate change.
Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. Humans burn fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas to generate electricity, power cars, and create plastic. These nonrenewable energy sources release greenhouse gasses, like carbon dioxide, trapping heat in our atmosphere and raising global temperatures. Until we reduce our carbon emissions, the effects of climate change will only become more common and more intense. Explore our Resource Studio to learn more about climate change >
While you’re experiencing some of these climate impacts, you may also be noticing climate solutions: more electric vehicles on the road, solar panels on houses in your neighborhood, composting efforts in your school, or your friends switching to plant-based diets. These are all effective ways for individuals to take action against climate change by reducing their carbon emissions.
Why Tell Your Climate Story?
Climate science is very data-driven. From the data, we know that climate change is happening and can project how it will impact weather, agriculture, and infrastructure. It is also one of the biggest threats to our oceans. It is important to understand this, but often, the data feels too removed from day-to-day life. By telling your climate story, you can bridge the gap between the data and your reality. There’s power in telling a personal story through art, writing, dance, film, and more. Through the arts, you can help people connect with these issues in a new and relevant way.
“People can’t understand the world as a gift unless someone shows them how it’s a gift.” – Robin Wall Kimmerer
Your climate story does not have to be a catastrophe, like extreme weather or wildfires. You can focus on how climate change is altering how you eat, play sports, or make vacation plans. You can celebrate climate solutions in your community or initiatives that you have participated in, or share how you find strength and inspiration in our changing world. These are all part of your climate story. It can be cathartic to express your feelings about climate change, and we hope you will find community and realize that other people around the world are experiencing and feeling some of the same things you are.
Last year, we explored Climate Heroes who have taken steps to fight climate change, from organizing rallies, researching solutions, and raising awareness. Oftentimes, the catalyst that sparks their journey comes from their lived experiences – their climate stories. With that, we ask you to tell your climate story.
Tell Your Climate Story Prompt
Think about climate issues and solutions and consider how they have affected you or your community. Find something that resonates deeply with your experiences – perhaps a climate impact you witnessed, an initiative that you’ve participated in, or a source of strength and inspiration when thinking about the climate crisis. Share your personal climate story through art, writing, performance, film, or multimedia. What is the story that you’d like to tell?
Note: We are asking specifically about climate change and not other environmental concerns, like plastic pollution, oil spills, and overfishing. If you do choose to address these issues, make sure that you research how they connect to climate change and incorporate that into your submission.
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.
- Gain knowledge about climate change and its relationship to and impact on our changing world. 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 environmental conservation and advocacy.
- Join Bow Seat’s global community of over 30,000 young people who care about the ocean, environmental justice, and climate action, and contribute to the largest youth environmental arts collection in 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 $1,000!