Saturday, November 16, 2019
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'World of 7 Billion' contest has a Md. winner

After telling us that we humans are the cause of the sixth mass extinction, two Maryland students pose an important question: Is this the mark you want to leave on the world? The question becomes the basis for the final scene in their first-place video in the “World of 7 Billion” contest.

1st place video: What Will Happen to Us? by Katherine Selley and Catherine Knox

Katherine Selley and Catherine Knox are rising seniors at Broadneck High School in Annapolis, Md. Their video entitled What Will Happen to Us? won first place in the student video contest in May in the category “The World Is in the Midst of the Sixth Mass Extinction.”

Both students are in the Science National Honor Society at Broadneck, which requires members to participate in a science-related project every semester. Although both students are new to film-making, they’ve had considerable exposure to population growth and its impacts on biodiversity in their Advanced Placement environmental science class.

In making the short video clip, required by the contest to be under a minute in length, Ms Knox said both she and her friend drew on their travels. We “have been to many places all over the world, so we had photos and video clips that we wanted to use to show the global effects of the issue.” The task then switched to editing the script down to the required brevity—and to sticking her finger into some very cold, wet sand for the final scene, which she confessed was “a bit of an inconvenience.”

In addition to being an advocate for the planet, Ms Selley is also a competitive sailor and plans to use her share of the prize money to go to a sailing clinic in Chicago. She’s the vice president of the National Honor Society and secretary of the Science National Honor Society. Ms Knox is on the school dance team and serves as treasurer for the National Honor Society.

The World of 7 Billion contest was sponsored by Population Education, a program of Population Connection that’s the only national program with a strong emphasis on curriculum and professional development for K-12 educators focusing on human population issues. Since 1975, the program has developed age-appropriate curricula to complement students’ science and social science instruction about human population trends and their impacts on natural resources, environmental quality, and human well-being.

The other two categories in the video contest, in the form of challenges facing humanity, were entitled “Most of the World’s Suitable Farmland Is Already Under Cultivation” and “Worldwide, 1 in 10 Primary School Age Children and 1 in 3 Secondary Age Children Are Not Enrolled in School.” In each category, a first-place video earns prize money of $1,000, a second-place video earns $500, and two honorable mention videos earn $250 each.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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