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2021-22 Winners

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Entrants to the 2021-22 Global Sustainable Development (GSD) Competition answered one of the following questions:

A busy, bustling crowd in Tokyo

Do you need to be rich in order to be sustainable?

A face mask discarded on a beach, next to a bin that says 'Don't forget to protect the planet after you're done protecting yourself'

Some commentators believe that 2022 could be the year the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end. What long-lasting impacts do you think the pandemic might have on sustainable development?

A homeless person receiving spare change in London - St Paul's Cathedral is in the background

What do you think is the main barrier to achieving sustainable development at present, and how can this be overcome?

This year we received an eclectic mix of entries from across the world! Our judging panel reviewed the submissions, selecting the shortlist and the overall winners. The shortlisted entrants were invited to a virtual event in July 2022. The event involved an interactive discussion around global sustainable development and we announced the commended entries, the runners-up, and the winners of the competition. Read more in our news item.

Find out about the 2021-22 winners and what the judging panel thought of their entries:

First Place

Maia Gorman

Submission type: Poem with commentary

The title of Maia's poem, 'a mortal paradox', engages and captivates the reader immediately. Maia takes us on a journey, exploring the reasons behind our inability to achieve sustainability. The structure of Maia's poem is unique and cleverly devised. It prompts the reader to consider not only what is to be prevented in our fight for sustainable development, but also what more can be achieved and added to improve the sustainability status of the world. The overall optimistic and positive tone is refreshing and the reader finishes the poem feeling hopeful - a feeling that we all need in order to make progress.

Maia was invited to submit their poem for publication in GLOBUS, the School for Cross-faculty Studies' student-run online publication. Read Maia's poem in full here.

Ella Thompson

Submission type: Poem with commentary

Throughout Ella's poem, we were engaged and we thoroughly enjoyed reading it. There was consistent clarity of argument which was cleverly intertwined with the use of literary techniques such as rhetoric and repetition. The inventive and refreshing structure of the poem, combined with the inclusion of statistics, has resulted in it being suitable for a wide range of audiences. With this in mind, we truly believe that this piece of writing could be effective in inviting people to take action and reflect on their own lives and relationships with the environment.

Ella was invited to submit their poem for publication in GLOBUS, the School for Cross-faculty Studies' student-run online publication. Read Ella's poem in full here.

Second Place

Kanta Morishige

Submission type: Photo with commentary

Kanta's photograph is uncomplicated yet hugely effective. The inclusion of the £5 note in the foreground, surrounded by nature in the back creates a powerful and thought-provoking image, referring to societies’ prioritisation of the economy at the expense of environmental degradation. It encourages us to reflect on what’s really important in life, whilst also nudging us to consider the ways that we interact with and regard the natural world. This, in combination with the potential feasible solutions mentioned in the commentary, creates a well-considered and engaging submission.

Zhao Xiyu

Submission type: Comic with commentary

Zhao's delicate design, including such intricate and detailed drawings, clearly depicts an emotive story that considers the effects an individual has on sustainability and how easily we can influence others. This comic asks us to reflect upon our own actions and the way that we interact with the world's finite resources. It certainly is a piece which could prompt individuals to be more aware of their resource consumption.

Third Place

Georgia Randall

Submission type: Essay

Georgia's essay differed from others in its argument, resulting in it standing out as a gripping read. Georgia creates a well-considered and strong argument through her mentions of specific industries that struggle to meet a sustainable status. At the same time, she also looks both below and beyond industry level, considering individual actions as well as the role of the government. There is also a clear sense of passion, which encourages us to engage with Georgia's perspective. The inclusion of solutions for specific industries is unique, showing a clear line of thought which has been evidenced by research, and helps to conclude the essay in a satisfying way.

Georgia was invited to submit their essay for publication in GLOBUS, the School for Cross-faculty Studies' student-run online publication. Read Part 1 of Georgia's essay here.

Jemima Seagrave

Submission type: Essay

Immediately, Jemima's essay engages with the question of 'Do you need to be rich in order to be sustainable?' and provides a strong, clear argument. The frequent mention of the fundamental pillars of sustainability, combined with the consideration of the achievability of sustainable development not only on a personal level, but also locally and nationally, shows that Jemima has clearly planned the argument thoroughly and looked at the subject matter holistically.

Highly Commended Essay Submissions

Helen Gill

Helen's essay caught our attention immediately and we remained enthralled until the end. This was predominantly due to the direction of argument that Helen's essay took. Helen discussed less obvious factors, such as pensions, highlighting their relevance to current society and provided a very thought-provoking argument. The solutions presented in Helen's essay were also relevant, and most importantly, widely accessible, meaning that this essay has the potential to inspire public action.

Dayan Pindoria

Dayan should be extremely proud of the work that they have produced. The inclusion of statistics and data in Dayan's essay, as well as references to relevant theorems and concepts surrounding sustainable development, helped build a sophisticated, clear and well-developed argument. Furthermore, the acknowledgment of additional factors and discussion of a range of potential solutions shows that Dayan understands that sustainable development needs to be addressed via a holistic lens.

Dayan was invited to submit their essay for publication in GLOBUS, the School for Cross-faculty Studies' student-run online publication. Read Part 1 and Part 2 of Dayan's essay.

Joe Worrell

Joe has clearly taken the time to plan this essay, as the developed structure and clarity of this essay helps to produce a strong, consistent argument. The inclusion of data alongside references to sociological theories and debates acts as sophisticated evidence to support the overall argument. This usage of research also maintains the readers’ interest and helps to form a refreshing and original argument and perspective which we found enlightening.

Highly Commended Creative Submissions

Jessica Marlow

Submission type: Painting with commentary

Jessica's painting is beautiful and they are clearly artistically talented. The most striking element of this work was the emotion it evokes due to reference to personal family connections. It caused us to reflect upon our own life and consider the ways that our behaviour and relationships with sustainability and protection of the environment have been influenced by others. The painting has been created from an optimistic perspective which we greatly appreciate as it suggests that there is a possibility for change and a brighter future if we continue the discussion and try to encourage others to act sustainably.

Nara Herce and Eva Luna Montoya

Submission type: Film with commentary

Nara's and Eva's submission is an example of exceptional filmography and well-devised scene planning. The wide variety of shots, combined with the naturalistic acting, resulted in the creation of a captivating and engaging film. The choice of engaging with a simple message regarding the consumption of meat was effective and provokes the viewer to reflect on their own lives and eating patterns. A lot of time and effort has clearly gone into the creation of this film and this has not gone unrecognised.

Cassie Yang, Frank Guan, William Cao, YunRu Chen, Alex Yin, and Sally Du

Submission type: Painting with commentary

This painting has clearly been created by like-minded individuals with an artistic flair. The decision to focus this painting on current affairs means the painting is engaging and thought-provoking due to its relevance. The imagery, combined with the commentary, results in the painting being highly informative and the unique subject choice causes it to stand out against other submissions.