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Caroline Spelman chooses Winner of WWF youth poetry competition ahead of Rio +20

14 June 2012

Secretary of State for the Environment, Caroline Spelman announced the winner of WWF’s youth poetry competition, The Future We Want, at an event in the House of Commons today, attended by four of the five finalists with friends, family and MPs.

The competition, launched by WWF in May, invited students aged 11-14 to submit a poem that reflected their hopes for the future of the planet, ahead of the Rio + 20 Earth Summit. A staggering 300 poems were submitted, ten of which were highly commended. The winning poem Our Precious Planet, written by Charlie Harrison, was announced today having been chosen by Caroline Spelman.

This month, twenty years after the first United Nations Earth Summit, world leaders will gather again to examine the progress made and to decide what steps must be taken to protect the future of the planet. The Future We Want competition allowed young people around the UK an opportunity to voice their own thoughts and feelings on the importance of protecting the environment for future generations.

Presenting Charlie with the prize of an iPad plus £500 for St Andrew’s CE High School for Boys, in Worthing - Secretary of State, Caroline Spelman said;

“I want our generation to be the first to leave a better environment for our children than the one we inherited. It is vital that we engage young people in the Rio+20 process, since it is their future world leaders are discussing.

“This poetry competition appeals to young minds, and I have been extremely impressed by the quality of writing and the ideas expressed. I hope other world leaders at Rio+20 have as much vision and passion as these young people.”

WWF Ambassador Graeme Le Saux, who helped shortlist the entries, said: “I was delighted to help judge the finalists in this competition. The quality of entries was high: it was a pleasure as well as a privilege to hear what young people want for the future of our world, expressed so thoughtfully and creatively.”

Glyn Davies, Director of Programmes at WWF said “Decisions made in Rio next week can shape the global environment agenda for the next decade and beyond. Today’s young people will live with the impacts of these decisions so it’s important to listen to what they have to say about the future they want.”

-Ends-

Notes to editors:

The competition was open to all UK students between the ages of 11 and 14. Find out more at www.wwf.org.uk/schools
WWF is one of the world's largest independent conservation organisations, with more than five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. We're working to create solutions to the most serious environmental issues facing our planet, so that people and nature can thrive. Through our engagement with the public, businesses and government, we focus on safeguarding the natural world, tacking climate change and changing the way we live. Find out more about our work, past and present at www.wwf.org.uk

Our Precious Planet by:
Charlie Harrison, St Andrew’s CE High School for Boys, Worthing

In the future our planet could be covered in sea,
But that’s not the way we would want it to be.
Ice caps are melting and beginning to go,
There would be no polar bears without the snow.
Destroying the rainforests is a terrible crime,
Before they’re all gone is a matter of time.
Each precious animal could be extinct,
It’s hard to imagine ponder or think.
All of our cars are polluting the air,
Just stop and think is it really fair?
We need to take care of our special world,
For the next generation of boys and of girls.

PLEASE CREDIT IMAGE: Credit © Richard Stonehouse / WWF-UK.jpg

For further info and images please contact:
Kellie Rollings
WWF Press Officer
krollings@wwf.org.uk
01483 412340

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