News Decoder and Global Youth & News Media challenged teens to find and profile people working on systems-level solutions to climate change. They stepped up.

Photo illustration.

Photo illustration by News Decoder.

A profile of geologist Florin Stoican — who established the Romania’s first citizen-led national park — is the top Gold Award winner for the Climate Champion Profiles Challenge.

Six other profiles received Silver Awards in this global storytelling competition, part of The Writing’s on the Wall Project.

“Our judges saw extensive merit in all these top stories, each with a different emphasis,” said Dr. Aralynn McMane, executive director at Global Youth & News Media, which organized the international journalism storytelling competition. “The scores for these six profiles were very close, and just behind the top winner, so we decided to highlight this wide array of excellent work.”

The Climate Champion Profiles Challenge is part of The Writing’s on the Wall project, in partnership with News Decoder and The Climate Academy. The project aims to help student journalists in their climate change reporting and to offer schools new tools to integrate climate science into their teaching.

All 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 entries were both inspiring and impressive,” said News Decoder Education News Director Marcy Burstiner, who served as a judge for the competition. “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.”

The assignment for teenagers was to find and profile someone they considered a climate champion either on an international scale or in an important local initiative.

Just entering the competition was an achievement, McMane said. “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,” McMane explained. “We felt it was important to take such a solutions journalism approach to this project.”

And the winners are…

The Gold Award went to Patricia Cirtog a student at Facultatea de Psihologie si Stiinte ale Educatiei – UBB in Romania, for a profile of Stoican.

The profile authors receiving Silver Awards are:

  • Samaya Chauhan of Amity International School (India) 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.
  • 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.
  • Ali Cappola of The Baldwin School (USA) for a profile of Adam Fishman, who is changing mindsets in support of the environment.
  • Sanjana Chauhan of Amity International School (India) for a profile of Sushil Vaishnav, whose Ecoil company transforms used cooking oil into biofuel.
  • Ivy Lam and Andie Korenge of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (USA) 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.
  • Mia Baškovič (Slovenia) for a profile of Matea Benedetti, who creates sustainable luxury fashion with a global impact.

All the winners will receive cash awards and coaching for publication by News Decoder.

A 12-member international jury of environment experts young and old assessed the entries.

In all, a total of nearly 40 entries came from 16 countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, India, Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Nigeria, Poland, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, Slovenia and the United States.

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ContestsTeens show us that you can find climate heroes across the globe
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