500 Words for our Future, the Winners!

500 Words for our Future the Winners

The 500 Words for our Future writing competition was designed to coincide with the Festival of Schools, a sustainability focussed series of family events in some of Dubai’s most welcoming schools. The aims of the writing competition were to underscore the eco-goals of the Festival events and to amplify the voices of young environmentalists. As a team, we feel both inspired by and enormously proud of every one of the entries we received.

Read on for the winning entry and runners up in the 11 and under age group. The top entries for the 12-18 age group will be announced today on our sister site, www.schoolscompared.com.

At the end of this article, you will find the name of each and every child and young person who entered this competition.  They all deserve to be recognised for their hard work and effort! Huge congratulations to everyone who entered, and please keep on writing and sharing your incredible ideas. Your voices really do deserve to be heard.

How was the 500 Words for our Future writing competition judged?

The entries from each age group were filtered to a final top five by our Editorial team. We then asked Which Media Junior Journalists, siblings Mishal and Mir Faraz to select a winner and two runners up in each age category. Mishal (age 15) and Mir (age 11) are both talented writers, avid readers and passionate about creating a better world, and we could therefore think of no better judges for this competition! Mishal, who has contributed articles, diaries and chapters for our “Write a Novel” challenge in the past, took on the job of judging the entries for the 12-18 category and her equally talented younger brother, Mir, selected our winner and runners up for the 11 and under age group.

Judge of the 11 and under category, Mir Faraz. Mir attends GEMS The Winchester School in Jebel Ali

The Best of the 11 and Under Age Group

“It has been an absolute delight reading through the entries for WhichSchoolAdvisor.com’s “500 Words for Our Future” writing competition, enthuses our Junior Journalist, Mir Faraz.

“Our planet is truly facing unprecedented challenges. Science has spoken loud and clear – we have only 10 years to address climate change before the damage becomes irreversible. Action is needed at all levels and reading through these entries makes me feel confident that we have no dearth of young eco warriors who are well informed and determined to make a change. Without further ado, here are the winners…”

500 Words for our Future, Winner, 11 and under age group

Rayaan Ahmad of JESS Arabian Ranches

Mir explained his choice of winner, saying;

“What stood out in this essay was the abrupt beginning which conveys just the right sense of urgency which climate action requires. The essay draws attention to the fact sometimes it is the least responsible who suffer the harshest consequences, thereby driving home the point that it is a shared planet we live on, and our actions have consequences on all living beings which inhabit this Earth. Finally, what made this essay clinch the top spot? The repetition of the beginning and the concluding sentences, a well-documented literary technique used for emphasis, which leaves a lasting impression”.


The Winning Entry – Age 11 and under, Rayaan Ahmad, JESS Arabian Ranches

We need to stop. Our world is in jeopardy. You are the cause.

Don’t believe me? Let me illustrate some examples. For decades, Australia’s environmentally-driven wildfires have ‘killed or harmed 3 billion animals’ (BBC). The innocent species of koala is now vulnerable, and is predicted to become extinct if action is not taken. Along with this you may be shocked to know that Australia ONLY produces a mere 1 percent of annual emissions, yet they unfairly suffer huge consequences.

Kiribati, a tiny country off the coast of Australia, has been threatened to disappear underwater. The people are seeking to relocate themselves, so that they will not have to face the devastating effects of climate change. Again, it seems to be a coincidence that they have one of the five lowest carbon footprints in the world. In the developed countries that we live in today, there is nothing, just nothing that can stop us from the pressing problem of climate change. We are the ones that need to act. We have been spoiled. You live a life of luxury, with not a single care for protecting the world you live in, too selfish to give back what Earth has given you. Be ashamed of yourself for this.

Money isn’t everything. It may seem like that to us. Leaders are starting to think the world revolves around money, not the sun! Let’s put it this way: If everyone in the middle class donated 20 dollars, you would have 26,800,000,000 dollars for climate change purposes. In my opinion, a certain amount of the taxes received by a government should be donated to this cause. How much easier would tackling the climate change problem be?

Now, for agriculture. I am aware of how much the economy of nations are reliant on the meat industry. But wait. If you look at how much you are damaging the environment around you by buying a good old cheeseburger, you will want to become vegetarian. First, water usage is the most prominent, damaging aspect of agriculture. About 1,800 gallons of water is needed to produce each pound of beef. And an average cow weighs about 1,400 pounds. And there is about 1.5 billion cattle in the world. I think you get the picture.

Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of all freshwater withdrawals. On top of that, cows are one of the biggest producers of methane. This should convince you to, if not become vegetarian, cut down on the meat! Finally, and most importantly, climate change is a cause. of most global problems. You can go from climate change to a drought to a water shortage to violent protests to anarchy to even war. If everything links to climate change, how hard is it to make a change?

We need to stop. Our world is in jeopardy. You are the cause.


The First Runner Up

Rose Goel, GEMS Jumeirah Primary School

Our Judge, Mir Faraz writes,

“The second place goes to Rose Goel of GEMS Jumeirah Primary School. This is a very well-balanced piece of writing – it has the right blend of facts and figures and at the same time evokes just the right sense of empathy for the life forms which suffer dire consequences because of human activities. “Envision living in a world where no other living creatures but humans live?” the writer asks. This rhetorical question drives home the point that we live in an interconnected ecosystem, and we must do our bit in protecting it. The essay ends on a note of positivity with the writer sharing her picture of a perfect world – a picture which comes alive in the minds of the readers as well”.

First Runner Up, 11 and under, Rose Goel of GEMS Jumeirah Primary School

Our world as we know it is rapidly changing. As climate change is affecting us all, we must act now. We must realize that the planet Earth is our only home. Similar to how we care for our homes, cleaning it, maintaining it, keeping it safe and comfortable, we should do the same to our planet.

Instead, every day 200 million animals and birds die in slaughterhouses to feed humans from developed countries while the problem with global hunger is still unresolved. Uncounted fish and sea creatures are killed during commercial fishing. It is believed that soon our oceans are going to be out of life, creating enormous disruption in the multiple animal ecosystems that can backfire and harm humans as a result. For example, birds, polar bears, sharks, and penguins are on the verge of extinction due to the lack of fish disappearing from accessible shore waters. 

Coral reefs provide sea life with shelter, camouflaging fish from predators, and it absorbs nearly one third of carbon dioxide emissions. Extensive chemical use, commercial net fishing and global warming destroy corals leading to major disruption below the sea. Let’s mention habitat loss of wild animals too. Tigers, pandas, rhinos, elephants, gorillas are soon to be seen only in zoos because of poachers that illegally hunt and sell animal body parts in black markets. And those who don’t die, get stuck and suffocate in plastic pollution. Is this how we should treat our home?

Envision living in a world where no other living creatures but humans live? This paints a pretty daunting picture. Solution to this lies in the hands of our world leaders who were trusted and selected to advocate for our better future. Also in their power is to leave a legacy and an example for the future leaders. Meanwhile, we can do what is necessary and in our control by reducing our personal carbon footprint. We can all agree that we need to protect our forests. It is a fact that 20% of our oxygen comes from the Amazon rainforest. We can plant even more trees too. We can protect sea life with imposing fishing restrictions for commercial operators.

One of sustainable examples is turtle farm in Dubai that helps brood new turtles and release them into the wild. We can advocate for cleaner air by controlling factories emissions. I imagine living in a world of kindness, where animals not just survive but thrive in their habitats, where fish can swim freely in the oceans, gas and oil development have stopped and alternative energy solutions are used. Our responsibility is to act swift in this situation, educate ourselves and make long term healthy choices. As Wendell Berry, eco activist, once famously said, “The Earth is what we all have in common.”


Second Runner Up, 11 and under

Akshara Rajendran Kavitha, GEMS Jumeirah Primary School

Mir explains his choice for second runner up.

“This place belongs to Akshara Rajendran Kavitha for the message of hope that permeates through this essay. The writer expresses concern for the state the planet is in right now and at the same time talks of their vision and dream of a world where kindness to the planet is a norm. There’s intelligent optimism in the essay. There are no quick fixes or cliched promises but a call to take “baby steps” towards a more eco-friendly world. Additionally, the writer stresses on planet friendly innovations which underscore the fact that human ingenuity can find solutions to any challenges”.

Second Runner Up, 11 and under, Akshara Rajendran Kavitha, GEMS Jumeirah Primary School

Our Planet, Our Future

We all know about global warming and the state our reliable planet is in right now. It honestly scares me how our planet will be left for the next generation to come. The next few paragraphs will inform you all about my vision for a more sustainable future.

My Vision

My vision is not one that just belongs to me, It also belongs to many people who believe that our future is in danger and needs to be changed, so many factors are harming our world – The amount of nature being cut down, polluting air and water, littering and much more goes on every single day! If this continues our future and our next generations will be in massive trouble like frequent wildfires, Pollution, drought and more worse things will occur often.

I have a dream – a dream to create a world where we can create environment-friendly solutions to these problems, such as more electric cars on roads and people can decide to use more bicycles or take walks to short destinations to cut down carbon footprints which also helps in their physical fitness and also saves money.

We can invent eco-friendly paper which would not require trees to be cut down. These are just a few suggestions, and we can do more! How can we start? It is obvious that we can’t just suddenly produce life-changing inventions to reduce global warming, but we can all start with baby-steps!

For example we can cut down on unnecessary plastic usage as 100 million marine animal’s lives get lost every year! We can start recycling more and follow the steps of re-use, recycle and reduce more! Electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels which are toxic for the environment – only about a quarter of electricity uses solar power so we could start using more solar energy rather than burning fossil fuels.

These are only some suggestions and there are way more things we can do to help! We have already started to make progress! As people gain knowledge about our situation we have made a little progress around the world! Some people invented a plastic that eventually decomposes in a short span of weeks when disposed off, while normal plastic takes 450 years to decompose!

A group of people have created eco-friendly paper made from stone! It reduces the amount of trees cut down as 2.4 million trees are cut down a day and it is also sturdier and more waterproof! A company (TEAMSEAS) has created a programme for people to donate one US dollar to collect one pound of trash! This is a small step to stop ocean pollution!

The fact that we have started helping the environment by small steps really helps me have a bit of hope that our future will be saved and my vision will become a reality.

Congratulations to our winner and runners up! Rayaan will be contacted to receive the prize of AED 250 in book vouchers.

Below are the names of each and every child and young person who entered the 500 Words for Our Future writing competition.  Our team would like to make a special mention to the 31 students from GEMS FirstPoint School who took the time to enter.  We will be making a donation to the FPS library in recognition of their efforts.  

Congratulations to all our young eco-writers. Keep writing!

Amelia ChohanCranleigh Abu Dhabi
Oliver KangCranleigh Abu Dhabi
Seungwon JangCranleigh Abu Dhabi
Seungmin JangCranleigh Abu Dhabi
Adithya Harikrishnan NamboothiriDelhi Private School, Dubai
Roysa SwamiDelhi Private School, Dubai
Raena SwamiDelhi Private School, Dubai
Sean GleesonDelhi Private School, Dubai
Lakshya Umesh AwatramaniDelhi Private School, Dubai
Aymaan HusainDelhi Private School, Dubai
Atiyah SajithDelhi Private School, Dubai
Karan SoodDelhi Private School, Dubai
Srijana PalDelhi Private School, Dubai
Ardhra BijulalDelhi Private School, Dubai
Amhika Anil KochamuryDelhi Private School, Dubai
Advait NairDelhi Private School, Dubai
Angad PadneyDelhi Private School, Dubai
Mohammed Hamzah SiddiquiGEMS Cambridge International School Dubai
Hridik MisraGEMS Cambridge International School Dubai
Tamara AlexGEMS Cambridge International School Dubai
Rania Batool HasanGEMS Cambridge International School Dubai
Iyaad Mohamed ArshadGEMS Cambridge International School Dubai
Liyana ArshadGEMS Cambridge International School Dubai
Izabella da luz Van HeerdenGEMS FirstPoint School
Yicheng ZhaoGEMS FirstPoint School
Janani SridharGEMS FirstPoint School
Azim SajidGEMS FirstPoint School
Samuel BrookeGEMS FirstPoint School
Kieran Andrew linfordGEMS FirstPoint School
Sulaiman TarikGEMS FirstPoint School
Qasem AlsalehGEMS FirstPoint School
Avani Nitin SanapGEMS FirstPoint School
Alaya Hashem Ali Abdulsalam Abdulaziz ShihabGEMS FirstPoint School
Laila BadawiGEMS FirstPoint School
Lorenzo Tajer De LemosGEMS FirstPoint School
Mohammed ShehadaGEMS FirstPoint School
Hailalah ElhadidyGEMS FirstPoint School
Yasmin Rastegar LariGEMS FirstPoint School
Mohmed MesratiGEMS FirstPoint School
Alyssa CoelhoGEMS FirstPoint School
Manasvi UmarGEMS FirstPoint School
Mohammad AlameerGEMS FirstPoint School
Eshaal KhanGEMS FirstPoint School
Eiad EsmailGEMS FirstPoint School
Aya MotyaGEMS FirstPoint School
Hanna NyrkovaGEMS FirstPoint School
Ouiza DebbiGEMS FirstPoint School
Maryam AlyousufGEMS FirstPoint School
Ahmad Al SubousiGEMS FirstPoint School
Hayley HuntGEMS FirstPoint School
Laila BatemanGEMS FirstPoint School
Jiabao AnGEMS FirstPoint School
Luca BelluGEMS FirstPoint School
Josh RoneyGEMS FirstPoint School
Dana FoudaGEMS FirstPoint School
Kiyara MistryGEMS Founders School, Al Barsha
Siddhant Saravana NateshGEMS Founders School, Al Barsha
Naisha MalhotraGEMS Jumeirah College
Jiwon YuGEMS Jumeirah Primary School
Naina ChandiramaniGEMS Jumeirah Primary School
Ana Madiha MirzaGEMS Jumeirah Primary School
Khushi GadhiaGEMS Jumeirah Primary School
Krish KhakhariaGEMS Jumeirah Primary School
Akshara Rajendran KavithaGEMS Jumeirah Primary School
Rose GoelGEMS Jumeirah Primary School
AVIKA SINGHGEMS Millennium School, Sharjah
NILEENA MARIAM JONESHGEMS Millennium School, Sharjah
Hawa AijazGEMS Millennium School, Sharjah
Ishnoor KaurGEMS Wellington International School 
Aryan Raja GopalHartland International School
Meghna SrikumariCademy Middle East
Mariia KropyvianskaiCademy Middle East
Abdul Suboor KhowajaiCademy Middle East
Alif MohammediCademy Middle East
Dena Ahmed BaaliiCademy Middle East
Reesha PereiraiCademy Middle East
Narmeen Mushtaq Ibrahim SuramyriiCademy Middle East
Nikolai KolomeitceviCademy Middle East
Zehna ImraniCademy Middle East
Leru Isaac Africa CatleiCademy Middle East
Abdullah ArmaniCademy Middle East
Edhit ChaturvedyJESS Arabian Ranches
Izmir HakJESS Arabian Ranches
Rayaan AhmadJESS Arabian Ranches
Zahra NakhodaJESS Arabian Ranches
Alexander Al-GhusseinJESS Jumeirah
Nishka JainJESS Jumeirah
Mahnoor RehanPristine Private School
Cuan UdemansThe Sheffield Private School, Dubai
Naila JabrayilovaThe Sheffield Private School, Dubai
Ahmed Hossam Eldin AbdelhamidThe Sheffield Private School, Dubai
Abaan SalimThe Sheffield Private School, Dubai


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