Your task: Create and publish one or more pieces of writing or creative media that explore arguments, demands or analyses of the movements for climate justice

Welcome to the second round of the COP23 Creative Challenge! This round focuses on the “what” stories – the arguments, demands and analyses of our movements for climate justice. While in the first round we spoke from our hearts, we now speak more from our heads – what is it that is so troubling about the current state of our society, democracy, energy systems, and economy?

The firm deadline for this second round of the Creative Challenge is June 1, at 11:59pm. All pieces (from both rounds) are due by this date. 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. As a reminder, you must have taken part in the first round of the challenge in order to be considered for our youth delegation to COP23.

“I began to ask each time: “What’s the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?” Unlike women in other countries, our breaking silence is unlikely to have us jailed, “disappeared” or run off the road at night… And then our speaking out will permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered forever.” – Audre Lorde

What should I write about?

You might choose to write about “What does racial justice have to do with climate change?” or “What’s the future of the Paris Agreement under the 45th administration, and does it matter?” or “How Standing Rock changed the fabric of the climate justice movement.” Maybe you’ll create art around “What connects fracking and drought in California?” or a video about “How Trump’s push for ‘clean coal’ will continue to exploit Appalachian communities.” While this round of the challenge asks for a more analytical approach, the most powerful pieces will still tell stories – whether our own, or others’. It’s always important to remember that we speak as ourselves, from our own positionalities and identities. A good place to start will be your own campaign, your research, your home state or your own nexus of social change. You are the world’s authority on your own work.

If you’re having trouble getting started, here are some suggested topics:

  • People’s Climate March 2017 – thousands filled the streets of D.C. and around the globe for climate, jobs, and justice.
  • Resisting Trump’s agenda – with many sources of inspiration, the Indivisible Guide is a comprehensive place to start.
  • Indigenous sovereignty and climate change – from #NoDAPL to #NoKXL to #TransPecos and #StopSabalTrail, Native communities are leading fights against the fossil fuel industry and to protect their treaty rights.
  • The World at 1 Degree C – this could be also be called required reading in the climate justice community. A thoroughly researched summary of climate impacts, solutions, and activism around the world, published each month by the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice.
  • #ZeroBy2050 – deep decarbonization. What will it take to get your town/state/country/world through a just transition to 100% renewable energy?

Where should I publish my work?

The Creative Challenge is about taking your writing or creative media-making to the next level. If you’ve never written publicly before, maybe starting a personal blog or self-publishing on Medium or the Powershift blog makes sense as a first step. If that feels within your comfort zone, push yourself to pitch to local, regional, or campus press, or to a relevant blog. This is about getting your story to a wide and relevant audience. No matter where you end up publishing, be sure to share the link widely on social media.

We held a “How to Pitch to the Media” webinar during round one. If you’d like to view this hour-long recording, hosted by some of SustainUS’s storytelling gurus, email Karina for the link.

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, which include examples of Creative Challenge submissions from the COP22 Delegation, informational webinars, and a library of helpful online resources! If you’re thinking about writing for this round then take a look at our example opinion editorials and ‘How do I write an opinion editorial?’ 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Dineen and Karina, our COP23 Delegation Leaders, with questions at any time. Do look through our FAQ first, just in case your question has been answered before.