In October, 2019, Reconnect Earth held our first-ever student writing contest: Coming Back Home, Re-Imagining an Inclusive Environmentalism. Entrants were asked to write an essay or poem responding to the following prompt:
A respectful, reciprocal relationship with the Earth is as the heart of nearly all traditional cultures in every part of the world. Yet too often, the mainstream environmental movement tells a narrative which centers the experiences of White male environmentalists while excluding People of Color, Indigenous people, and women. We want to know what a new environmentalism that’s inclusive of all people would look like–as you imagine it, or perhaps as it is already taking shape. We’re interested in writing that is creative, thought-provoking, and personal rather than academic. We want to hear what an inclusive environmental movement looks like to you.
We were wonderfully surprised and impressed with the pieces we received in response to this call. All submissions were judged anonymously by a panel made up of Reconnect Earth board members–and selecting the winners wasn’t easy! In the end, our judges awarded first and second-place prizes to submissions we received from authors in the 16-29 age range. We were also very pleased to give a Special Recognition Award to an entrant who fell below the normal age range specified by the contest guidelines, but whose piece was so good we just couldn’t say no!
Read the winning Coming Back Home 2019 submissions below: