Climate change writing contest calls on students for world-saving ideas

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The deadline for the PSU Institute for Sustainable Solutions 'Thinking Our Way Forward' writing contest is Dec. 1. Silvia Cardullo/PSU Vanguard

Portland State Institute for Sustainable Solutions is offering students with a passion for writing and an interest in climate change solutions a chance at $1000 through its “Thinking Our Way Forward” writing contest

Despite ever-expanding scientific evidence, some have dismissed climate change as a myth, including multiple people in positions of power. A notable and unfortunately comical instance of such denial came just two years ago when Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) brought a snowball into Congress as a counterpoint against climate change.

The growing trend in both government and the general populace is to join the scientific community’s consensus: Rapid climate change is man-made, and research shows we have the power to slow rising temperatures.

Paul Lask, an adjunct English teacher at PSU and one of the judges for this contest, offered some ideas:

“This is a writing contest centered around climate change,” Lask said. “We are looking for solutions-based ideas to the unfolding climate catastrophe.”

This is an opportunity to bring creative thinking to the table. It opens the floor for not only the natural sciences but also the arts and social sciences to contribute to the conversation about causes and solutions.

The contest is not limited to academic essays that outline sophisticated or technical solutions. Submissions will be assessed for original ideas and writing quality. Keywords are imagination, vivid imagery and plausibility.

Lask encouraged students to utilize the PSU Writing Center, located in Cramer Hall 188, as a resource for this contest and other writing ventures. He also recommended deep reading and peer workshops.

Most importantly, Lask said, “try to answer the prompt question: in a world locked in the grip of climate crisis, how can we think our way forward?”

Submissions are due Friday, Dec. 1 and limited to 1,500 words. The grand prize winner will receive $1,000. Second and third prize winners receive $500 and $250, respectively.

For more information on contest guidelines and deadlines, visit the contest page here.

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