Environment Essay Competition

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Read more about Amber’s ever-evolving relationship with her hometown and her views on the importance of being part of a writing community.

After reading all of the wonderful entries in our Environmental Writing Competition, one thing’s for sure: the future of our planet is looking mighty bright with all of you at the helm!

Lenses resource), Williams reminds us that it is just one method of many when it comes to investigating the relationship between humans and the natural world.

We’ve collected some of our favorite approaches to serve as models.

Each of the excerpts in this resource shows a different form of humans shaping or being shaped by their environment, and writers writing about it.

No Matter Your Approach Regardless of your chosen beat (ethics or politics, technology or climate), chosen style (personal or journalistic essay), or topic (drought in your community, environmental justice, the neighbor’s pigs, wildfires, your patch of city garden, etc., etc.), keep in mind the following guidelines on how to reach your reader when writing about the environment: website and blog) What’s Different about Write the World Competitions?The work of our Environmental Writing competition guest judge Nicholas Kusnetz has been featured in publications like The Washington Post, Businessweek, Mother Jones and The New York Times.So, who better to help guide you through the process of writing a stellar competition entry than Nicholas himself!?But she is also a fierce advocate, her prose crafted with purpose.It is the act of storytelling, she says, that allows writers to “bypass rhetoric and pierce the heart.” In other words, writing about the connection between humans and their home has the power to cross political and social divides.This power is displayed in an anecdote Williams tells about flying over the Gulf Coast to see the devastation wreaked by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill: “Our eyes were burning and it was horrible.I asked the pilot what was the worst thing he had seen, and he said that the most moving thing he saw was when they had set fire to the ocean and were burning the surface oil to get rid of it, he had seen a line, a pod of dolphins, side by side by side, on the edge of the oil, watching.” Williams did not cry at the sight of the oil-slicked sea, but at the beauty of the Gulf left unharmed.I guess it’s a way of saying that unless we grieve what we’re losing, unless we honor the beauty, then we don’t find our way through to that place of action.” There are so many ways to write about the environment—so many ways of grieving, honoring, exploring, critiquing, loving, and questioning.While the collision lens is certainly applicable to some stories (see the tsunami story in the Enviro.No matter your interest, we’re asking you to think about our home (the world), and share with us something about the environment and how humans live in it.You might write about the plight of the polar bear, the rising power of Norway’s Green Party, or the impact of domestic cats on birdlife.


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