Articles written by two Year 11 students from Whangaparāoa College received awards in the annual Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) competition.
The competition is run by Keep NZ Beautiful for students aged 11-25 who have a passion for the environment as well as for writing, photography or video.
This year’s judging panel included journalist Melissa Chan-Green. The theme was ‘reducing plastic waste’.
Sixteen-year-old Ariana Hunt of Manly won the Article 15-18 years section. Her piece, called The Biological Killer, is about the amount of waste generated by traditional period products. Ariana, who also won the 2019 competition and came second in the global awards held last year, says she wanted to make more young women aware of sustainable alternatives.
“Due to landfills acquiring no air and very little water, things are not being broken down. Roughly 12 percent of all domestic waste is nappies and sanitary products, and it takes up to 450 years for a sanitary pad to decompose. As our climate changes, the planet becomes hotter, and the plastic breaks down into methane and ethylene, increasing the rate of climate change and perpetuating the cycle. Remember those pads you used at thirteen? They will still be decomposing by the time you have passed.”Excerpt from Ariana Hunt’s The Biological Killer
Gulf Harbour resident Jenica Crous, 15, was awarded an Honourable Mention in the same category for her article which ties together the issues of climate change and mental health.
“… from taking climate action we shall ensure that there is a clean and cared for planet, that will renew and replenish, giving good health and wellbeing. That in turn will lead us to making better decisions and feeling more joyous and hopeful, so we will continue to care for the earth and so forth. It’s time for us to realise that there is an infinite connection between our mental environment and our physical environment, either both are happy or neither.”Excerpt from Jenica Crous’s It’s not just a Climate Emergency Anymore
“For my own mental health, it’s good to get outside but if we don’t look after the environment, it will take a toll,” she says.
First place winners are also entered in the global YRE competition in mid-2022.
The articles can be read at: www.knzb.org.nz/programmes/education/young-reporters/yre-2021-winners/