Home News Green Carpet Awards (GCA) 2012: Recognising Young ‘Visionaries’

Green Carpet Awards (GCA) 2012: Recognising Young ‘Visionaries’

Green Carpet Awards (GCA) 2012: Recognising Young ‘Visionaries’

Members of the younger generation have the power to inspire adults to appreciate the environment more. This was the message put across by Dr. Francis Downey, Vice President of National Geographic Explorer.

The Washington-based publisher was speaking to students, parents, educators and journalists as part of the Green Carpet Awards 2012, which took place on the 30th June at the National University of Singapore Shaw Alumni House.  Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, was the Guest-of Honour.

The GCA 2012 is an environmental program initiated by National Geographic Explorer, a range of classroom magazines targeted at children from Kindergarten to Secondary School. As part of the program, young students from primary and secondary schools in Singapore, equipped with Nikon DSLR cameras, embarked on adventure trails at Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden (situated near the NUS Faculty of Law) and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. They submitted their best photographs from the expeditions, along with short essays and captions elaborating on their pictures.

The photo-essay competition drew over 4, 000 entries. 20 finalists were shortlisted to attend the awards ceremony.

Dr. Downey who was impressed with the quality of the students’ submissions, said, “I think the students here in Singapore – all of them – are superb writers and visionaries.”

“It is through their vision, both through photography and through writing that we are inspired to see something bigger than what we are: to see that we are part of the natural world,” he added.

Twelve-year-old Kim Navetey clinched the Best Overall Award with her artistic photograph of leaves, riddled with holes left by worms eating through the leaves, set against the sky. The East Coast Primary School student explained that the image illustrates the interdependence between animals and plants.

From Left to Right: Mr. Jim Huang, Dr. Francis Downey, Kim Navetey, Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan

On her win, Navetey said: “I love nature and hope to influence my friends from East Coast Primary School to take good care of the environment”.

It is through their vision, both through photography and through writing that we are inspired to see something bigger than what we are: to see that we are part of the natural world.

Like Dr. Downey, Dr. Balakrishnan emphasised the importance of the younger generation in conserving the natural environment.

“The Post-war Baby Boomers have secured enormous wealth from exploiting nature on an unprecedented scale… the younger generation are far more passionate about protecting the environment and our natural heritage than our generation ever has been,” he said.

“Instinctively, without all fancy lectures and academic lessons, they know that this is something precious… Therefore I believe that it is the younger generation who will help us come to our senses and realise that the environment and nature existed way before human beings came about and will continue to exist way after human beings leave the stage.”

Mr. Jim Huang, Vice President of World Marketing Group, the event organiser for the awards, said that the program sought to honour young adults who recognise the importance of environmental awareness.

“They are our strength, our inspiration, our hopes and dreams,” he declared, “they champion for a cause that relates directly to their own future.”

Indeed, despite the presence of important adults at the event, it was the children who were the stars of the day.

Befitting the competition theme of Environmental Awareness and Nature Preservation, the award finalists arrived at the awards ceremony in trishaws, decked out in immaculate suits and dresses. A 20 metre-long green carpet was laid out on the entrance to replicate the “red carpet experience”. Arriving finalists and guests posed on the green carpet for a swarm of photographers and journalists.

Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan sportingly fielding questions from young reporters
Interestingly, many of the media entourage were primary and secondary school children from the same institutions as the finalists. As part of the GCA 2012, selected students were trained in reporting skills for the event. These budding reporters undertook their roles with utmost enthusiasm, directing incisive questions at finalists and guests alike.

The award nominees, too, responded to questions about their views on the environment with a maturity that belied their tender years.

“We need to protect the environment, and make it a better place for future generations,” said Muhammad Raiyan Md Yasin, 12, from Elias Park Primary School. Janessa Kong, 14, who won the Best Photographic Award for the 11 to 15 age category, said she felt that “Man and nature need to co-exist peacefully”.

And in what Dr. Balakrishnan deemed “the statement of the evening”, Zachary Chong Zhe Kai, 11, winner of the Best Journalistic Award for the 11 to 15 age category, solemnly pronounced in his acceptance speech: “If we do not save the environment, we will become extinct one day.” This drew chuckles and applause from the audience who would do well to consider his ominous prediction.

Indeed, despite the presence of important adults at the event, it was the children who were the stars of the day.

Dr. Balakrishnan summed up the importance of promoting environmental awareness among the younger generation.

“The question is not really saving nature. The question is all about human beings,” he said. “What kind of life will our children and our descendants have? The key is to find the right balance…. I think as long as the next generation understands that, and corrects the mistakes of the older generation, we’ll be alright.”

 

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