Green Media Contest

Our goal was to increase the exposure of passionate young people and the issues they care about, giving them a new platform for them to have their voices heard. To do this, we hosted our second annual student environmental contest, the Green Media Contest. Students like you sent us exceptional videos, art, and blogs that talked about a relevant environmental topic through a unique lens, connecting people everywhere with these important issues. We have displayed the winning entries here for you. A final congratulations to the winners of the Green Media Contest!
 

Hive Mind

Nolan Zunk

Conservation in Madagascar

Vanessa Moss

Dahye Kim

Furman University

As coffee became an essential part for an urban lifestyle, the habit of easily disposing materials became routine for us. Therefore, the motive for this piece was reducing coffee-related waste. Starbucks, one of the largest coffee companies in the world, produces six billion disposable cups each year. Most of the cups are used very temporarily and carelessly thrown away. In order to increase the awareness of disposable cups’ piling waste, this artwork demonstrates what the ocean can look like if we produced less waste by bringing our own cups to drink coffee. While these cups are in our hands for less than a day, it takes them 20 years to decompose; for the plastic lids, it takes more than 450 years to completely break down. Most of the waste that does not get recycled or used ends up in the ocean, where they are busy invading and harming marine life.

In order to increase the awareness of disposable cups’ piling waste, this artwork demonstrates what the ocean can look like if we produced less waste by bringing our own cups to drink coffee. The materials for this cup are a used Starbucks coffee cup and used Pepsi plastic bottle. Keeping the style of the coffee brand’s font and arrangement was critical so that people would know what “Bring your own cup and…we proudly conserve” is targeting. Typical Starbucks designations — Decaf, shots, syrup — were changed instead to highlight key qualities for a sustainable life. This also is an acrostic that makes the word “nature” when you read the first letters vertically. In order to increase visual aspect of the sea, the plastic bottle was cut and painted blue, which depicts deep blue sea surrounded by beautiful colors of corals reefs. With the reused plastic section, a candle was put into the cup to be used as a decorative lantern.

A Cry For Help

Camryn Lipman

Our planet is priceless. But for the sake of profit, we are destroying the environment that sustains life on Earth — the only life we know in the universe! My artwork portrays our precious planet by demonstrating what our future will look like if climate disruption perpetuates. Behind the eye that resembles the Earth are damaging human activities causing climate change, including fossil-fuel combustion and animal agriculture. The piece also conveys the effects of climate change, most significantly its impact on our oceans. The floating polar bear represents the global melting of ice and sea level rise. Additionally, the ocean tear expresses the dangers of ocean acidification, including decreased biodiversity and coral bleaching. The crying Earth expresses the exploitation our environment endures; the pupil dollar sign signifies the hidden root of environmental destruction.

The Effect of Border Construction on Biodiversity

Rachel Knight

The building of Trump’s 5.5 meter (18-foot) wall plan will affect not only humans, but could potentially harm and endanger the surrounding ecosystems. 654 miles of existing barriers and walls have been built with materials such as barbed wire to steel, bollard to wire mesh, and have already greatly affected the delicate ecosystems and wildlife on the border. President Trump favors construction of a border wall due to his value of strong immigration policies. The president has gone as far as shutting down the government in efforts to force lawmakers to provide $5 billion in funding. Illegal immigration was a central theme of his 2016 presidential bid and he appealed to this issue by deploying 5,800 U.S. troops in 2018 to the border as immigrants from Central America desperately crossed into the United States.

Javelinas

Biodiversity on the border is threatened by this barrier wall, but the full effect has not yet been determined by scientists. A biologist at Penn State, Jesse Lasky, has attempted to assess the threat of the border wall. They estimated that, “134 mammal, 178 reptile, and 57 amphibian species live within about 30 miles of the line. Of those, 50 species and three subspecies are globally or federally threatened in…” To read more, click here.

Does My One Straw Really Matter?

Nataley Williams

Last year, the food service at my college (Bon Appétit) banned all plastic straws on campus and replaced them with paper straws as a step towards campus sustainability. Their decision is a part of a larger national movement to phase out plastic straws. Companies such as Starbucks, Alaska Airlines, and McDonald’s are announcing plans to eliminate plastic straws by next year (A Brief). These companies are responding to the large outcry from activists who are demanding actions against the plastic straws that are harming the oceans. In America alone, 500 million straws are used daily, and a large portion of those are ending up in our oceans (Straw Wars). While I, as a sustainability science major, was happy about this transition, the campus reactions to the change were widespread. One question I heard over and over and often even asked myself as the paper of my straw withered away was, “Does my one straw really matter?”—is this one straw going to make a difference in the long run? Will any of my actions at all ever actually matter or have an impact? To read more, click here.