Winners Announced

Environmental Journalism Competition 2020

JOURNALISM — Your pocket of the world.

** This competition is now closed, but you're welcome to review the Published Writing or publish your own piece to share with others.

What are the most important environmental issues of our time, dear writers? What hopes and fears do you have for our planet? Given your inheritance of this earth and the momentous time brought on by climate change, it is no surprise that the past couple of years have brought a surge of young voices broadcasting environmental awareness and demanding change. Now it’s your turn. Investigate an environmental issue close to home, and then tell us about it in a piece of groundbreaking journalism.
This competition welcomes two forms of journalism (check out the resources, which further outline each of these forms):
  1. An Op-ed that outlines your opinions (e.g. the importance of combatting air traffic sound pollution in your rural community).
  2. An Analysis of a local issue, and its impacts near and far (e.g. the shifting migration patterns of your backyard songbirds).

Guiding Ideas
Regardless of your chosen form of journalism, the following guidelines are designed to help you craft a compelling article:
  •  MAKE IT PERSONAL: We want to know what you think, or how an issue (or a person, if you’re writing a feature) impacts you. It’s always tempting to check out the research and opinions that are already out there before crafting your own response. But before you consider what other people think, carefully contemplate your chosen topic and jot down any ideas that come to mind, as well as any emotions that surface.
  • INVESTIGATE YOUR OPINION: Why do you think what you think? Can you identify the people or experiences that have influenced you in forming this opinion? Your friends? Your family? School? The media or the culture in which you live? Exploring the root of your opinion demonstrates to your readers that you have thought deeply about the issues at hand.
  • BACK UP YOUR IDEAS: Once you have a sense of what you want to say, start collecting evidence. Look at the existing research on your topic, find persuasive quotes from reputable sources, and/or identify experiences from your own life (or anecdotes from people you know) that demonstrate the validity of your perspective.
  • WELCOME CHANGE: As your knowledge deepens, your ideas will likely evolve. This is a good thing! Be open to your perspective becoming more complex and nuanced.
  • CAPTIVATE YOUR READER: A piece about the environment should be a riveting read. Make sure your writing is thoughtful, reflective and clearly structured. Think about starting the piece with a story or anecdote that hooks your reader. Use physical, sensory descriptions and active verbs to make the piece—and the place it’s about—vivid and visceral.
  • MAKE IT UNIVERSAL: As you share your story, keep in mind that your goal is to persuade your audience to listen up. Oftentimes, the most compelling pieces are both personal and universal. Try sharing an experience from your life that supports your opinion (or motivation for writing the piece), while also explaining (or showing through examples) how this topic impacts people on a broader scale. 
  • GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT'S DUE: Don’t forget to cite your sources. 
Who is Eligible?  
Young writers ages 13-18  
600 – 1,000 words
Guest Judge
Jamie Margolin  is an 18-year-old community organizer, activist, author & public speaker. She is the founder and co-executive director of the international youth climate justice movement, Zero Hour.
  • Best Entry: $100 (Our guest judge’s commentary on the winning piece, and an interview with the author will be featured on Write the World’s blog) 
  • Runner up: $50  (Our guest judge’s commentary on the piece will be featured on Write the World’s blog)
  • Best Peer Review: $50 (Our guest judge’s commentary on the best peer review and an interview with the reviewer will be featured on Write the World’s blog)     
What’s Different about Write the World Competitions? 
  • Prizes: The winning entrant(s) will receive $100, and the best peer-reviewer will receive $50.       
  • Professional Recognition: The winning entry, plus the runner-up and best peer review, will be featured on our blog, with commentary from our guest judge.       
  • Expert Review: Submit your draft by Monday, February 10 and get feedback from our team of experts—authors, writing teachers, and educational professionals.   
Key Dates 
February 3: Competition Opens  
February 10: Submit draft for Expert Review (Optional. We will review the first 100 drafts submitted.)      
February 14: Reviews returned to Writers  
February 18: Final Submissions Due
February 28: Winners Announced  
Upcoming Competition
Our Op-Ed Competition opens Monday, March 2nd.
Stay tuned for more details!  

Due Dates
  • Feb 10 - Drafts due for expert review.

  • Feb 18 - Competition Deadline


Meet Environmental Journalism Competition Winner Charlie Ashford

March 20, 2020

You might not think “witty writing” and “environmental journalism” naturally go together, but this is the unlikely pairing that Charlie Ashford (Australia) made in her piece “Slowing Down Fast Fashion.” Add to that her extensive research and engagement with the topic on a personal level, and the result is the winning entry in our Environmental Journalism Competition

Read on for Charlie’s thoughts on the importance of translating your passion to readers and how she’s doing her part to reduce the environmental consequences of fast fashion.


​Environmental Journalism Winners Announced!

February 28, 2020

We’re delighted to share the winning pieces that reveal the personal and global impacts of climate change, as well as words that give us hope for a healthier planet. Head over to our Blog to read about the Best Entry, Runner Up, and Best Peer Review.

Read More Here

​Guest Judge, Jamie Margolin on Writing for Climate Justice

February 26, 2020

Writing environmental journalism requires you to confront a massive problem—climate change—and zoom in on one captivating angle, element, or issue. From deforestation to droughts, fracking to floods—there is no shortage of material to investigate. At this critical time, it’s the words and actions of Generation Z that are galvanizing leaders around the globe, forcing them to pay attention, urging them towards positive change.

Today, our guest judge, Jamie Margolin shares her insight into the process of starting her organization, Zero Hour; organizing her community around issues of climate justice; and putting pen to paper to create her first book, which comes out in June.

Read More Here