UAE kids in print: “500 Words For Our Future” Writing Competition WINNERS announced!
The results of the “500 Words For Our Future” writing competition are in, and we have been so impressed by the standard of entries! And what better time to make our announcement than at the beginning of Christmas and the seasonal holidays….
Which Media – the team behind SchoolsCompared.com and WhichSchoolAdvisor.com – invited children below the age of 18 to submit a 500-word piece of writing inspired by the theme ‘Our Planet, Our Future’.
Set up as part of Which Media’s Festival of Schools – a series of fun, family events in some of Dubai’s best schools – the competition welcomed creativity, passion and opinions from the UAE’s budding young journalists, writers, thought leaders and environmental campaigners.
We received an outstanding number of entries and have been so delighted and inspired to read the thoughts of young people in the UAE.
Read on for the winning entry and runners up in the 12 – 18 age group. The top entries for the 11 and under age group have been announced on our sister site, www.whichschooladvisor.com.
At the end of this article, you will find the name of each and every child and young person who entered this competition. They all deserve to be recognised for their hard work and effort! Huge congratulations to everyone who entered, and please keep on writing and sharing your incredible ideas. Your voices really do matter.
The entries from each age group were filtered to a final top five by our Editorial team. We then asked Which Media Junior Journalists, siblings Mishal and Mir Faraz to select a winner and two runners up in each age category. Mishal (age 15) and Mir (age 11) are both talented writers, avid readers and passionate about creating a better world, and we could therefore think of no better judges for this competition! Mishal, who has contributed articles, diaries and chapters for our “Write a Novel” challenge in the past, took on the job of judging the entries for the 12-18 category and her equally talented younger brother, Mir, selected our winner and runners up for the 11 and under age group.
The Best of the Age 12 – 18 Age Group
“Which Media is a trendsetter when it comes to facilitating the convergence of young minds from all over the nation in a brilliant display of the plethora of talents they possess, how well informed they are and the sheer passion they have to be agents of change,” says junior journalist and 500 Word For Our Future competition judge Mishal Faraz. “The 500 Words for Our Future writing competition is yet another feather in the cap of Which Media. It was a delight to read the thought-provoking pieces by the immensely talented writers. We can say with conviction that UAE HAS GOT TALENT!”
Proudly presenting the winners…
The first place, and winner of a Dh250 book token, goes to Angad Pandey of Delhi Private School.
Judge Mishal explains why she chose Angad’s piece to win: “This entry is a wonderfully blended mix of description and emotion, and facts and information. Right at the onset, the opening captivates the reader with its powerful, beautiful style of writing. It addresses the problem very realistically and very effectively conveys the danger our planet faces, and the urgency that this issue needs to be tackled with. One noteworthy thing its positive, definitive, certain language – phrases such as “every function will embrace sustainability” and “sustainability will become the world order” show that despite the dire circumstances, the author has an optimistic outlook towards the future of the planet and has faith in mankind that it will one day mend its ways, which is refreshing to see.”
A Choice for The Future
By Angad Pandey of Delhi Private School
All the things that surround us have their own little home, the stars have the night sky, the wind has the fleeting hug of the leaves, millions of beautiful little creatures are hidden in the meadows and plains, and the birds are nestled in groves.
When their melodious singing meets the incoming disturbing noise of crowding cars, in each feather covered chest, a little heart quivers in trepidation, terrified of the destruction of their homes while we live unbothered. There are always two ways to look at something, optimism, and pessimism, and unfortunately for our ecosystem and environment, the latter presents the more realistic picture.
Several species of animals are turning extinct every single day, oceans and water bodies are getting smothered with pollutants and the ice caps and glaciers are melting. Most of the world’s population still reels in poverty and hunger and is affected by gender equality, illiteracy, etc. Destruction of our environment and ecosystem has been rampant since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, which was a turning point in the drastic change of our climate.
In his 2009 article, ‘A Safe Space for Humanity’ Johann Rock Strom, Professor of Environmental Science at Stockholm University, enlisted nine planetary thresholds on which our ecological system depends. Three of the nine planetary thresholds, namely climate change, biodiversity loss and nitrogen cycle, have already been crossed. We are headed towards a world in which humanity’s carelessness with production and consumption has further exhausted and already depleted earth.
The coming decade will be critical for our planet. Although the damage done to the ecosystem and environment is irreversible, sustained efforts to rehabilitate and rejuvenate the ecology of earth could be important to avert a global catastrophe.
The situation may seem dire but there is a glimmer of hope. The Sustainable Development Goals launched by the UN will flow in heavy investments for the right cause to take care of environmental, social, and economic problems all over the world. Many investments in achieving our sustainability goals are taking place all over the world. There will be many “disruptive” innovations in the field of sustainability. Sustainability will not be a separate function in organizations, but every function will embrace sustainability.
The ‘asset-based’ economy will give way to ‘user-based’ concepts, where every resource will be used optimally. Slowly but steadily, sustainability will become the world order, which means that no policy, no economic practice, no new initiatives will be devoid of the concept of sustainability. Progress is critical if we want to change our environment for the better and head towards a more sustainable and environment-friendly earth. We all need to put our efforts into making our planet a better place to live for ourselves and our future generations. Remember, the future of the world is in our hands, and we possess the choice that will make or break the future of our planet.
First Runner Up
The 1st Runner Up position goes to Alexander Al Ghussein from JESS Arabian Ranches. Judge and junior journalist Mishal says: ”This entry was an extremely insightful and thought-provoking read – the creative way in which it was written catches your attention. What was interesting to see was how the author narrowed their focus down to money and its corrupting properties, and how it can be a double-edged sword, so I believe that this entry had a very unique take on the theme. It does an excellent job of depicting the egotistical, self-centred nature of humans – it indeed makes you stop and think when you read about the transition of humans from worshipping Gods to turning into Gods and you realize that it actually holds quite true. The epic scope and scale of the opening really strengthens the impact – when you realize how much grander and greater the universe is than we realized, and how much more insignificant we as a civilization are than we thought – it makes us understand how trivial and petty the scramble for financial power is.”
The animal that became death
By Alexander Al Ghussein from JESS Arabian Ranches
Dear 21st Century,
About 13.8 billion years ago, Matter, Energy, and Time came into being; their story is called physics.
300,000 years later these universal elements formed to create atoms that then combined into molecules. The tale of molecules and atoms is called chemistry. 3.8 billion years ago, these molecules merged to form organisms, and their story was called biology.
Then 70,000 years ago, a complex organism called Homo Sapiens started to form an elaborate structure known as culture. And these cultures formed history.
Since their first days, this species started to question reality, and so they cherished Gods: all-knowing, strong beings with power over nature. While we treasured these beings, we were unaware that we were turning into these Gods. But maleficent impenetrable versions of them, with only evil in their black-hearts, that would go on to wreak havoc on the earth forevermore. Doing anything for power or a piece of rectangular paper with the ”USA” written on it and a photo of Benjamin Franklin.
If it was used from one side, the scent of money could bring jubilation and euphoria beyond desires and fantasies. It could unite villages into empires, build pyramids, create the secret of success, redefine imperial visions and bring justice to history. If it was used from the other, the gospel of gold created lamentations and famines, massacres by money, discord, chaos, and ate entire forests, jungles, and animals and vomited its waste into the ocean.
Moreover, moneys’ breath could pollute the sky so that people choked and fell sick, an ordeal they faced every time they took a breath. It could transform the world into a desert. It could make the sky, so tragically obscure people only gazed at it in museums. It could drive trees to extinction, so they were only looked at in pictures of old books. And to make it worse, it destroyed the lives of all future generations. However, money was not the problem, greed was. If humans used money for terror, they could have more money, so man’s green eyes shone with avarice.
The rest is history… So I now write to you to tell you of your victory; we have run the fields dry and created this wasteland. But now, green is the colour of cement, not trees. And the only thing left is a desert. A desert of endless debris and cement where nothing grows and no one is born. So tell all past generations of your success. For man has finally become death. We were once animals, then we became gods, but when the power of money lost its awe, there was nothing left, and so these gods had become death. Looking at the sun as it sets. As all animals go to sleep and all humans perish.
My lungs holding tight to the last carbon emission, I write my last words to a distant other world, you who is not animal nor god. Do not soar if you cannot fly.
Second Runner Up
The 2nd Runner Up is Lakshya Umesh Awatramani, Delhi Private School.
Mishal explains why she chose this piece: “The language and style of writing is absolutely riveting and it sends out a powerful, ardent message. Not only does it very meticulously explain the problem, it also clearly outlines the methods to tackle it and find grassroot solutions. It explains the stakes wonderfully and takes the stance that all of us are accountable and responsible for the fate of our planet. Overall, this entry was a delight to read.”
For a Sky Full of Stars
By Lakshya Umesh Awatramani, Delhi Private School
“Fate, dear Brutus, lies not with the stars but within ourselves.”
The famous quote from Julius Caesar holds testimony in more ways than one, when we think about what lies ahead for the human race.
Now, more than ever, we need to come together as species and genuinely consider what steps we must take to resolve the ever-dynamic nature of the climate crisis. However, in my opinion, before we start addressing the larger issues, it would first be pertinent to ensure that the fear-mongering atmosphere that has been created, is put to rest. There is no denying that sustainability is the key to a prosperous future, but with the chaotic nature that has been brought forth, we have to solve the crisis in a short span of time. We must facilitate the creation of innovative ideas as smoothly as possible.
As of now, the tools at our disposal are not enough to successfully avert the inevitable calamity. It will be of utmost importance to encourage the youth and educate them on the significance of preservation and sustainability. But then the question arises, how to turn hypothetical solutions into realities? The first step at an individual level would be to adopt sustainable principles in your day-to-day life. If we wish to set the world in order, we must start with setting ourselves in order. Then logically, the next plan of action would be to eventually move up the hierarchal ladder and expand the principles we follow to accommodate a wider demographic.
Gradual but consistent progress will be essential to make sure that what we do is making a difference in the lives of those around us. Every individual on this planet should be made aware of its current deteriorating state. Every effort should be taken to ensure that each one is sensitized to analyze, collaborate and innovate to bring Earth to an acceptable status. We need to bear a global outlook to save our future existence.
Since now we understand how to start with the bare minimum to do our part, we must realize why we must engage in arguably such a time-consuming and demanding endeavour. The question might seem complex, but the answer is simple. We have no right to destroy the Earth. There are an innumerable number of species on this blue marble of ours, and if nothing else, they deserve to be protected from the mess, we have created. Life is too short to be wasted in simply adding to an issue that has already reached a tipping point.
As a race, it should be our primary objective to work towards a sustainable future. The previous generations showed little to no regard for the preservation of our planet. However, it is now up to us to make sure that someday when our succeeding generations look up at the sky, they see a beautiful cluster of stars just like Caesar did and not the sky littered with a culmination of our past mistakes.
Thank you everyone who entered
A BIG thank you to all of the wonderful entrants. We couldn’t not mention GEMS, FirstPoint School, which contributed a whopping 31 entries from its students. As a thank you, Which Media will be donating some books to its school library. Happy reading!
500 Words for our Future Entrants
|Amelia Chohan||Cranleigh Abu Dhabi|
|Oliver Kang||Cranleigh Abu Dhabi|
|Seungwon Jang||Cranleigh Abu Dhabi|
|Seungmin Jang||Cranleigh Abu Dhabi|
|Adithya Harikrishnan Namboothiri||Delhi Private School, Dubai|
|Roysa Swami||Delhi Private School, Dubai|
|Raena Swami||Delhi Private School, Dubai|
|Sean Gleeson||Delhi Private School, Dubai|
|Lakshya Umesh Awatramani||Delhi Private School, Dubai|
|Aymaan Husain||Delhi Private School, Dubai|
|Atiyah Sajith||Delhi Private School, Dubai|
|Karan Sood||Delhi Private School, Dubai|
|Srijana Pal||Delhi Private School, Dubai|
|Ardhra Bijulal||Delhi Private School, Dubai|
|Amhika Anil Kochamury||Delhi Private School, Dubai|
|Advait Nair||Delhi Private School, Dubai|
|Angad Padney||Delhi Private School, Dubai|
|Mohammed Hamzah Siddiqui||GEMS Cambridge International School Dubai|
|Hridik Misra||GEMS Cambridge International School Dubai|
|Tamara Alex||GEMS Cambridge International School Dubai|
|Rania Batool Hasan||GEMS Cambridge International School Dubai|
|Iyaad Mohamed Arshad||GEMS Cambridge International School Dubai|
|Liyana Arshad||GEMS Cambridge International School Dubai|
|Izabella da luz Van Heerden||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Yicheng Zhao||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Janani Sridhar||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Azim Sajid||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Samuel Brooke||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Kieran Andrew linford||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Sulaiman Tarik||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Qasem Alsaleh||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Avani Nitin Sanap||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Alaya Hashem Ali Abdulsalam Abdulaziz Shihab||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Laila Badawi||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Lorenzo Tajer De Lemos||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Mohammed Shehada||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Hailalah Elhadidy||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Yasmin Rastegar Lari||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Mohmed Mesrati||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Alyssa Coelho||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Manasvi Umar||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Mohammad Alameer||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Eshaal Khan||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Eiad Esmail||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Aya Motya||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Hanna Nyrkova||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Ouiza Debbi||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Maryam Alyousuf||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Ahmad Al Subousi||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Hayley Hunt||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Laila Bateman||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Jiabao An||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Luca Bellu||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Josh Roney||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Dana Fouda||GEMS FirstPoint School|
|Kiyara Mistry||GEMS Founders School|
|Siddhant Saravana Natesh||GEMS Founders School|
|Naisha Malhotra||GEMS Jumeirah College|
|Jiwon Yu||GEMS Jumeirah Primary School|
|Naina Chandiramani||GEMS Jumeirah Primary School|
|Ana Madiha Mirza||GEMS Jumeirah Primary School|
|Khushi Gadhia||GEMS Jumeirah Primary School|
|Krish Khakharia||GEMS Jumeirah Primary School|
|Akshara Rajendran Kavitha||GEMS Jumeirah Primary School|
|AAHANA MIHIR SANGHANI||GEMS Jumeirah Primary School|
|Rose Goel||GEMS Jumeirah Primary School|
|AVIKA SINGH||GEMS Millenium School, Sharjah|
|NILEENA MARIAM JONESH||GEMS Millenium School, Sharjah|
|Hawa Aijaz||GEMS Millenium School, Sharjah|
|Ishnoor Kaur||GEMS Wellington International School|
|Aryan Raja Gopal||Hartland International School|
|Meghna Srikumar||iCademy Middle East|
|Mariia Kropyvianska||iCademy Middle East|
|Abdul Suboor Khowaja||iCademy Middle East|
|Alif Mohammed||iCademy Middle East|
|Dena Ahmed Baali||iCademy Middle East|
|Reesha Pereira||iCademy Middle East|
|Narmeen Mushtaq Ibrahim Suramyri||iCademy Middle East|
|Nikolai Kolomeitcev||iCademy Middle East|
|Zehna Imran||iCademy Middle East|
|Leru Isaac Africa Catle||iCademy Middle East|
|Abdullah Arman||iCademy Middle East|
|Edhit Chaturvedy||JESS Arabian Ranches|
|Izmir Hak||JESS Arabian Ranches|
|Rayaan Ahmad||JESS Arabian Ranches|
|Zahra Nakhoda||JESS Arabian Ranches|
|Alexander Al-Ghussein||JESS Jumeirah|
|Nishka Jain||JESS Jumeirah|
|Mahnoor Rehan||Pristine Private School|
|Cuan Udemans||The Sheffield Private School, Dubai|
|Naila Jabrayilova||The Sheffield Private School, Dubai|
|Ahmed Hossam Eldin Abdelhamid||The Sheffield Private School, Dubai|
|Abaan Salim||The Sheffield Private School, Dubai|
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