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Four Year 12 Geography students entered the Warwick University Global Sustainable Development Competition in May 2021. The students were asked to submit an essay, a podcast, photo series or artistic exploration examining either: the sustainability of the consumption habits of society, the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic or the desired outcomes of the upcoming COP26 Climate Change Conference. All four students' entries: three essays and one collection of poems were shortlisted and as a result all four students participated in an online virtual conference about the importance of sustainable development and the role young people in pushing forward the sustainable development agenda amongst their peer groups and in their community. Two of the entrants, Clint and Prabhas (both Year 12) won the overall competition in their respective categories: essay and creative submissions. The Geography Department is very proud of the creativity and geographical research that both Clint and Prabhas exhibited with their entries to the competition. To share this with you below you will find one of the four poems that Prabhas wrote and an extract from Clint's essay who both answered the question: "Do you think the society we live in can be sustainable or do we need to change our habits fundamentally".

It was once a wonder you know. Home. Mind.
It was long before you were even born.
In a palace of a thousand trees, it was a drop of gold in a sea of smaragdine.
And we were lost, enchanted, in this kind
Utopian paradise, where enshrined
lies God’s lush, tranquil garden, where adorned
by the Amazon’s gift—the troubadour
of life, the sounds of rain on trees and hoots of birds are froz’n in time.
My heart’s still there—though we left long ago.
Amid the crowded city’s din, we can
still feel the withering wind as it blows
And bellows smoke, and chars and sears our skin.
We stare, eyes stinging, skin singeing, and qualm
Remembering nature: our fire-flooded home.

Extract from Clint’s Essay:
On my way back from school on Tuesday night, I took a deep dive into Morrison's reduced section. The standout item was a 300g packet of Chicken breasts, for the price of 90p, considered loose change by an increasing number globally. However, behind the 90p label, there is a significant environmental cost: for every gram of chicken over a gallon of water is used in production, straining a resource which is still unavailable for much of the developing world. That being said, chicken can be considered a "sustainable" alternative to red meat. Beef has upwards of four the carbon footprint of poultry meats, producing roughly 30kg of CO2 per kilo. Yet beef remains readily available at British stores at prices which mask the environmental repercussions, which supermarkets fail to consider.

Banner photo above: Clint and Prabhas

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A boys’ grammar school in the London Borough of Sutton (UK), Wilson’s School is:

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