Global essay competition
05 December 2020
In 2020, we witnessed the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic causing devastating impacts in virtually every facet of people’s lives. To many, the pandemic feels like a force out of their control. Yet, a closer look reveals it is a directly result of our action as a global community. To mark the 2020 World Soil Day on 5 December, the UNCCD Capacity Development and Innovations Office (CDIO) invited people around the world to participate in an essay competition exploring the concept of 'one health' through examining the relationship between our treatment of the planet's land and the increased likelihood of these types pandemics.
Participation in the essay competition was open to everyone and was free. All entries were original unpublished between 500 and 1500 words, submitted in English, French, Russian or Spanish. We have received a total of 179 essays from 69 countries. The top ten winners received prizes between 300 and 100 euros. You can find their stories here:
Divya is from Chennai, a bustling metropolis in the south of India She is in the tenth grade at SBOA and Junior College. Like many teens today, she is inspired b Greta Thurnberg to look at little closer at the places we call home to try living in harmony with nature. At the global level, there might be a lot to be done but Divya believes that a lot more can be done locally. In her essay she argues that if we are to survive, our attitude toward land needs to change. We must move from trampling on everything in our path to recognizing the fragility of the gifts granted to us by nature and learning to “live and let live.” Not to conquer, but to seek balance and respect all live on Earth, no matter how small, for each life has value and a purpose within its ecosystem. Read Divya`s essay.
Latifah is from Guayana, she is 18 years old and is in secondary school. Her essay is titled “The plan B.” Analyzing the event of the past two years, she concludes that COVID-19 crisis has offered us a unique opportunity to make the structural changes needed to transition toward a fairer and ecologically sustainable economy. Read Latifa`s essay.
Илье 26 лет, он живет в Уральском регионе России и работает в сфере управленческого консалтинга, где ведет проекты в различных отраслях, таких как нефтегазовая промышленность, розничная торговля и информационные технологии. Он также занимается на общественных началах проектами по охране окружающей среды. В своем эссе Илья рассказывает о взаимосвязи между землей и пандемией коронавируса, и убедительно доказывает, что если мы изменим свое отношение к земле, то сможем предотвратить возникновение глобальных эпидемий в будущем. Читайте эссе Ильи.
Wilfredo is a forest engineer and an experienced land practitioner from Chile, working fr the National Forest Corporation, which serves as a national focal point for UNCCD. His essay “The social function of forests: Toward Land Degradation Neutrality, the provision of human health and overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic in Chile” describes the damage to human health caused by the nature deficit. It also highlights the important role of forests in overcoming the pandemic as forest aerosols could have an antiviral pharmacological effect and is also beneficial for cardiovascular and mental health. Wilfredo describes the progress the Chile made to incorporate the social functions of the forests in its efforts to improve human well-being and combat the pandemic. Read Wilfredo`s essay.
Елизавете 12 лет, она живет в Бресте, Беларусь, и несмотря на свой юный возраст очень ответственно относится к экологии и пандемии коронавируса. Она считает, что это очень серьезная тема, всегда следит за своим экологическим отпечатком и носит защитную маску в общественных местах. В своем эссе она говорит, что пандемия разделила нашу жизнь на «до» и «после» но верит, что с помощью современной медицины и высокого уровня сознания человечество сможет победить эту болезнь. Читайте эссе Елизаветы.
16-тилетняя Миримгуль из Кыргызстана получила специальный приз нашего конкурса. Она учится в школе и работает над проектом по очистке прудов в родном городе. Ее сочинение описывает работу ее брата и делится его взглядом на происходящее как медика, который помогал в «красной зоне» на пике пандемии короновируса. Эссе Миримгуль напоминает нам, о жертвах, принесенных работниками здравоохранения в борьбе с глобальной эпидемией. Читайте эссе Миримгуль.
28-year-old Alejandro is originally from Columbia and now lives in Germany and studies at the University of Cologne. Building on his experience working with policymakers in the areas of economic growth and sustainability, he advocates in his essay that a new “one health governance” approach should be adopted to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and recognize that the health of opeople is connected to the health of the enviroment. The essay, which received a special prize. argues that it is up to us to learn the lessons of the pandemic and recognize that our well-being is tied to the land. Read Alejandro's essay.
43-year-old Opeyemi from Nigeria has worked in town planning, architecture and biometrical engineering. In his essay he emphasizes the priority we must place on environmental protection and animal health to prevent future diseases. Read Opeyemi's essay.
22-year-old Zachary was born in the U.S., grew up in Thailand and studied in Spain. From an early age, he was concerned with environmental issues and led a number of ambitious projects to project the environment. His essay, which received a special prize, underscores the connections between humans, animals and the Earth – a reality we need to embrace if we want to prevent future pandemics. Read Zachary's essay.
17-year-old Vrishni is from Trinidad and Tobago. She is currently in high school, studying biology, chemistry, environmental sciences and entrepreneurship, and aspires to become a surgeon. In her essay, he argues that by shifting to a paradigm of sustainability, we can use land resources to our advantage as we fight through the pandemic. It is our duty to act now as a global community, because tomorrow might be too late. Read Vrishni's essay.
Visit the photo gallery of the activities in which our winners participate to protect the environment.