Your task: Create and publish one or more pieces of writing or creative media that explore why you engage in the movements for climate justice

Welcome to the first round of our SustainUS COP22 Creative Challenge! This first wave focuses on the “why” stories, the stories that come from within us. These are our personal stories, the ones that offer up a part of our own journey to capture both hearts and minds and motivate others to join and stay with our movements.

The deadline for this first round of the Creative Challenge is May 1, at 11:59pm. You are welcome to submit one or more pieces between now and then. You should submit links to your published work via this submission form. You must take part in this first round of the challenge in order to be considered for our youth delegation to COP22.

You may be interested in joining our COP22 Creative Challenge Facebook group, where participants can connect to share resources and stories.

“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.” – Erin Morgenstern

What are you looking for? Where should I publish my work?

You might choose to publish “Why I work for climate justice” in your campus newspaper, or “Why I’m fighting for a fossil fuel free future” in a statewide newspaper. You might put together a photo essay on “Why I believe in a just and sustainable future” for a movement blog, or create a series of memes for your campaign’s social media channel on “Why I chose to take non violent direct action”. Maybe you’ll have a friend interview you for a podcast on “Why I joined the fossil fuel divestment movement”, or you’ll share a video on social media that explains “Why I am researching solar energy technology”. Maybe your story of “Why I see climate change as an issue of racial justice” will make it into a nationwide outlet — surprise us!

What if I’ve never done something like this before?

You don’t need to identify as a strong writer or deeply creative to excel in this challenge. Maybe your most public writing has only ever been in the form of Facebook posts — that’s OK. Whether you’re a grad school policy wonk, a seasoned activist, or new to this movement entirely — everyone has a story to tell about why they are here. We’re looking for risk-takers. For young people who are not afraid to push themselves. This challenge isn’t based on your resumé, but on your willingness to dive deeply in to your story of self, whatever it may be.

How do I begin?

See below for a step-by-step guide to publishing your creative piece. You should also be sure to utilize our storytelling resources (top tip for this first round: don’t miss Marshall Ganz’s phenomenal worksheet on exploring your “Story of Self”). We also have a series of supporting webinars for Round One:

  1. Why do we tell stories?
  2. How to contact the media and pitch your story
  3. Mobilization media: integrating storytelling into action planning

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Morgan Curtis, our COP22 Delegation Leader, with questions at any time. Do look through our FAQ first, just in case your question has been answered before.