In an effort to raise awareness of the danger and urgency of climate change and inspire young activists, the Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action (MOVCA) group is hosting a PSA contest. Local high school and college students are invited to get creative to compete for $2,000 in cash prizes.
“We received funding last year to run local public service announcements to raise awareness of the danger and urgency of climate change and thought there would be plenty in the public domain to choose from, and found out there was virtually nothing, and certainly nothing that reflected our region,” said Jean Ambrose, a member of MOVCA. “We created our own, but thought we wanted more messages that reflected our Appalachian region.”
When the organization received funding again this year, they decided to enlist the help of area students. “We thought we could get a lot more by reaching out to young people for their creativity and concern, and might get a number of products that we could use,” said Ambrose. “It would also educate people on the issue. As a fossil fuel state, West Virginians have a special stake in this conversation because we have a lot to lose if we ignore the direction both the economy and the science are taking.”
High school and college students are invited to participate by submitting PSAs. “PSAs are short audio/image messages that communicate ideas about subjects a community needs to engage with, think through, and act upon. They are not commercials; ideas and actions are the focus,” reads the contest instructions.
MOVCA is looking for both video and audio PSAs of 25 seconds or less. Entries can be submitted by individuals or teams; in fact, collaboration is encouraged. While at least half of a team must be comprised of students, teams may also include staff or faculty.
“Our energy future is not a partisan issue, but concerns all of us, everyone around the world,” said Ambrose. CO2 levels are higher than at any time in human history, and are continuing on an upward trajectory,” Ambrose said. “If we continue at current levels of increase, in just 40 years, CO2 could hit 600 parts per million, which hasn’t occurred for millions of years. The last time those levels existed, there was very little ice left on our whole planet.”
40 years is within the life spans of today’s teens and young adults. “It’s the defining issue of our time,” Ambrose continued. “The baby boomer generation (and earlier generations, who had less information than we do) allowed this to happen on our watch: it is the youth of today who will need to address this problem together with others their age around the world. There is a critical need for an alliance across the generations to preserve a livable planet for all people, and animals and plants, too, that humans depend upon.”
All PSA entries and required forms must be submitted by email on or before October 15th to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find the full guidelines as well as links to all application forms on the MOVCA website.