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Environmental Writing Competition 2024 Winners Announced!

Our Environmental Writing Competition, sponsored by Patagonia, invited young writers across the globe to raise their voices in support of the world we live in. From a childhood spent in the desert to the importance of educating loved ones about climate change, the winners of the competition used writing as a tool to explore impactful and personal topics.

Read on to discover the winners and finalists, along with commentary from editor and Guest Judge Jennifer Sahn!


‘On The Theft of Dreams’ by maya rose (United States)

Read the piece here, or login/sign up to read it on our site (for writers aged 13-19).

This essay shows a lot of ambition, thoughtfulness, and facility with words. Using three loosely related sections to address an idea from different angles in such a short essay is adventurous, and largely successful. The pivot to address the reader in the third section is effective, and the ending is a powerful implication of the reader in the writer's struggle. I was struck by the writer's ability to elicit concern without getting preachy. Scenes linger, and the reader is drawn into the work of piecing them together. I see opportunities to sharpen language, but largely, I see careful wordsmithing and smart pacing. Questions arise, though not all questions can be answered in a short essay. Nevertheless, the white space between ideas and between the three sections are invitations for the reader to make leaps of understanding. The success of this essay lies in part in its ability to engage the reader by not just telling a story but drawing the reader into a search for meaning. That is what art does: engage us in a response to a work, a response that may be different for each of us. I find this essay to be artful in the truest sense of the word. Bravo! 


‘Sitting At The Table’ by No2Pencil (United States)

Read the piece here, or login/sign up to read it on our site (for writers aged 13-19).

I really appreciated the writer's efforts to bridge the small-footprint lifestyle of their immigrant parents and grandparents with the modern recycling and sustainability movements that they have been exposed to. That bridge can do much to unite people of different socioeconomic backgrounds and values in advocating for environmental and sustainability issues. Framing the essay with the laptop presentation allows us to understand how this narrator takes up that challenge and embraces it while also allowing for some narrative tension: how will the family respond? The writer articulates what it could look like to extend the family's value system to nature itself, ultimately personifying nature as a relative, which could come off as naïve but instead comes off as logical and genuine. There is humility and vulnerability in this piece. It is risky for the writer to care this much. But ultimately, this is about survival, and the choice of not caring is about giving up. I have the sense that the writer was deeply invested in sharing this story in the hope that it might inspire readers to consider how family, community, and planetary citizenship are linked. I believe it succeeds in that. Well done!


‘Whispers of the Northern Wind,’ reviewed by Claire Tang (United States)

Log in/sign up to see the winning peer review on our site (for writers aged 13-19).

I can tell that the reviewer has done a really close read of this essay and thought deeply about what the writer is attempting to convey. Their comments are helpfully geared toward ways to refine the language and clarify the intent of the writer. The tone is supportive and encouraging, though maybe a bit effusive (a lot of comments that begin with "I love..."). Suggestions are respectfully presented as such, and the reviewer seems to be well aware that there is no right or wrong, just different ways to achieve clarity and evoke a feeling in the reader. I believe that the direction provided by this reviewer would lead to a much improved revision, and am struck by the overall thoughtfulness of the response. Bravo for helping another writer to improve their work and their craft!


Excuse Me, Grass. by Niño (The Philippines)

I really like the way this piece integrates ideas about diversity, animism, and respect for nature. The message about including Indigenous perspectives and ideas from the Global South in our conversations about sustainability and the livability of the planet is of huge importance, and I applaud the way the writer has constructed this piece out of their experiences. This was a really strong contender. One of my favorites.

To walk this world by ~wildflower~ (Australia)

This is a beautifully written essay about the writer's experience. There are phrases in here that are utterly delightful, and I am struck by this writer's facility with language. This was one of my favorites in the batch. Thank you. Keep writing!



All The Way to The Sun’ by Esraa Osman (Egypt)

Climate’s Bite: The Mango Dilemma’ by Yongwon Kim (South Korea)

Moribund’ by May__hem (Nigeria)

Heaven’ by Marcus Ollier (United States)

The Orchestra’ by eternal rue (Canada)

Peer Review:

'Everyone Only Grows Older-Our Planet Too,' reviewed by blank pages (North Macedonia)

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