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Children Turn to the Canvas with Witty and Sobering Art to Empower Action on Climate Change

United Nations Environment Programme Honours Winners of its 16th International Children's Painting Competition

World Environment Day 2007

Nairobi/Tromso, 31 May 2007-The world as an umbrella turned inside out by a powerful storm, while gripped by a dark almost diabolic-looking figure is the winning art work for the 16th International Children's' Painting Competition on the Environment it was announced today.

The work, by 12 year-old Charlie Sullivan of the United Kingdom, echoes to this year's theme of climate change under the slogan Melting Ice-A Hot Topic?

Miss Sullivan will be joined by the joint second prize winners - 12 year-old Ekaterina Nishchuk of Russia and 13 year-old Petkova Polina Zdravkova of Bulgaria - at the main World Environment Day (WED) celebrations hosted closed to the Arctic circle in the Tromso, Norway.

Miss Nishchuk was chosen for her witty image of a polar bear - the animal is seen standing under a hot sun, peeling off its white fur down to its trunks while atop a perilously small, wasted ice-berg.

Miss Zdravkova's painting is of a melting world, apparently dripping tears into the black abyss of space.

The global winners will be joined by Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner and the competition's six regional winners at the Tromso Museum on 3 June.

The regional winners, also announced today, are:-
Asia and the Pacific, Angie Chan (China), 11 years old.
Africa, Guy Nindorera (Burundi), 12.
Europe, Maria Mykolaivna Oliynyk (Ukraine), 12.
Latin America and the Caribbean, Arvind Paragsingh (Suriname), 11.
North America, Juliana Wu (United States of America), 12.
West Asia. Ebtihal Ali Al-Shaikh Mohamed Mansoor (Bahrain), 13.
Miss Sullivan of Godalming Surrey, a keen recycler of household waste who has also ridden her pony to school to save emissions from the family car, said: "I would like to express by my painting the need for everyone to act as if climate change is happening now. My wish on our planet is that everyone would take global warming seriously and think how their actions could destroy our planet and its very fragile eco system".

The 16th International Children's Painting Competition on the Environment organized in cooperation with the Japan-based Foundation for Global Peace and Environment (FGPE), Bayer AG and the Nikon Corporation, invited children to express their views about threats and solutions for Climate Change.

The Competition has been held annually since 1990 and in that time has received over 180,000 entries from children in over 100 countries. This year's competition was the biggest ever with 14,000 entries from 104 countries.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP's Executive Director, said: "Climate change is underway and will impact every corner and community of the planet. This generation is witnessing the early stirrings of extreme weather events, melting ice and other climatic manifestations. But it is the children who will witness in their lifetimes the largest impacts if the world does not move to address this challenge".

"The costs of acting now will be far less than the costs of delay. I would urge political leaders to see the world through the brush, pen strokes and paintings of these gifted children to ensure that these young peoples' fears are not realized and their hopes fulfilled," he added.

Tomoko Yano, Secretary General, Foundation for Global Peace and Environment (FGPE), said:" The Earth Summit in Rio was held in 1992, when we held the first exhibition of the children's painting competition on the environment at the U.N. Headquarters in New York. The Summit's message was that nothing less than a transformation of our attitudes and behaviors would bring about the necessary changes".

"However, in these 15 years after the summit, the forests have still been reducing and the emission of the carbon dioxide has been increasing causing serious influences on the global climate. Now we sincerely hope that the children's impressive paintings will re-inspire people around the world and encourage them to get together to live out our common dream: Save Our Precious Planet".

While visiting Tromso, the children will learn more about the issues of climate change with experts in the field from the museum, Tromso University and the Norwegian Polar Institute.

The nine-winning paintings will also be exhibited at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo in addition to various venues in Japan, Germany, Norway, and other United Nations countries, as well as on the websites of the competition's organizers.

"The children's pictures are giving one common message to all other people: safeguard our planet Earth", said Werner Wenning, Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer AG, and continues "We are very happy about the great popularity of the painting competition which is one of the important projects of Bayer's partnership with UNEP. Sustainable development is an integral element of Bayer's corporate policy and with our social commitment we strive to contribute to a good future for ourselves, our children and the coming generations."

Mamoru Kajiwara, Managing Director, Member of the Board and Senior Executive Officer at Nikon said: "Last year was the first year for us to support this competition. I still remember feeling awed by the magnificent paintings. Participant applications this year have drastically increased compared to last year. Perhaps this is because the children feel that climate change is something that closely affects them. The wonderful works of art at this competition will help urge people around the world to protect the global environment."

Notes for editors
All paintings are available to view on the United Nations Environment Programme's website http://www.unep.org/
World Environment Day is celebrated annually on 5 June around the world. http://www.unep.org/wed/2007/english/

A full programme of events in Norway can be found at here

For more information, please contact: Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, Office of the Executive Director, on Tel: 254 20 7623084, Mobile: 254 (0) 733 632755, or when traveling 41 79 596 57 37, e-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org
Theodore Oben, Head, Children and Youth Unit, Division of Communications and Public Information, on Tel: +254-020 7623262, Mobile: +254 (0) 724 255 247, email:theodore.oben@unep.org

Press Packets can be compiled and distributed to media in Tromso on June 3rd and can include:
2007 Painting Competition Children's Statements - List below…
Pictures of Winners
Pictures of the Art
Award Event Program
Sponsor Statements
TUNZA Book Information - Tore and the Town on Thin Ice

Winner's Statements (for press packets only)

Global Winner, 1st Prize, Charlie Sullivan (United Kingdom)
I would like to express by my painting the need for everyone to act as climate change is happening now. My inspiration came partly from another art competition I entered, the Global Canvas, where I learnt how the power of art can affect our views with just an image.

The silhouette of a figure in my painting represents government and global businesses idle hold over the world. In the background the reds, oranges and yellows represents the fossil fuel power plants and warming of the planet while those that could act use the umbrella to shelter behind. The umbrella pictures the world being turned inside out and upside down by the wind. Therefore we must all act to save the world from being polluted. Global warming is an issue that we can all do something about by the 3Rs; reduce, reuse and recycle.

My wish regarding climate change on our planet is that everyone would take global warming seriously and think how their actions could destroy our planet and its very fragile eco system.

I am involved in protecting the environment both at home and at school. At home I help separate the household waste into different containers for recycling and our own compost. We recycle metal, glass, plastic and paper through a roadside pickup system set up by our local council. This helps to cut down the 600,000 tonnes of rubbish put into landfill every year in Surrey.

My school is very concerned about climate change and the effects it will have on our environment. In every classroom there are waste paper recycling containers that are emptied regularly at our recycling point. Compost is made from our apple cores and vegetable waste. This compost is rotted down and reused in the school garden and organic vegetable patch. Within our small garden we have a wildlife area, a willow sculpture I helped create and a pond, which has two wild ducks. Our year will be going to Somerset next month where as a part of the trip we will learn about the growing and weaving of willow.

In May the school takes part in the Golden Boot challenge where all the pupils and staff try to find alternative forms of transport other that using the car. This has led to the school having its own bicycle shed. I rode to school on my pony along with my
next-door neighbor.

I would like to become either a designer or a member of the Household Cavalry.

Global Winner, 2nd Prize, Petkova Polina Zdravkova (Bulgaria)
In my country Bulgaria there is four seasons - springs, summer, autumn and winter. But we are feeling that the climate is changing thus affecting the seasons.
I am afraid for the environment. I would like to protect the four seasons. I don't want the seasons to change, which means we have to do more to take care of the environment.

Global Winner, 2nd Prize Ekaterina Nishchuk. Region of Russia
Dear adults and children!
Don't kill nature, don't cut forests!
Forest is home for its inhabitants, it means fresh air!
Forest means affluent rivers!
Forest means balanced climate on Earth!

My name is Ekaterina Nishchuk. I live in the Bolon village in Khabarovsk Region of Russia. We are a usual big Russian family – father, mother, brother Kolya, sister Nadyushka and me. I study in the 6th form and have worked for three years in the Bolon school forestry "Lesovichok" lead by our geography teacher Mariya Stepanovna Zhadan. I love nature very much, I like to draw, romance, read and don't like idleness. I love our Khabarovsk forests, especially in autumn when there are many mushrooms, berries, when golden leaves swirl and brightly coloured bald peaks delight the eye.

In the forestry we do various things: plant trees in spring, gather herbs, keep environmental diaries – observe nature in different seasons. We issued leaflets "Fir-Tree" dedicated to conservation of fir-trees in new-year time and "Primrose" – dedicated to protection of primroses in spring and also leaflets "Let's Protect Far-Eastern Forests From Fires", "Birds of Amur Don't Know Borders", "Wintering Birds of the Khabarovsk Region". We monitored the Far-Eastern stork nesting spots and a girl from our forestry was invited to Japan. We go on hiking, excursions, feed birds in winter and spring. We have eight environmental corners. We participated in the action "Let's Protect Korean Cedar".

Global warming is a complex word, but I think this means that it will be warm all over the world and this is not very good because some animals are used to warmth and others are used to cold. In our region we also feel the global warming impacts – frequent forest fires kill trees, animals and birds and there is no fresh air because of smoke. And last year meadows with bushes and birds' nests were flooded with excessive water.

After Mariya Stepanovna told me about the Global Warming Painting Competition I thought it over for a long time what to draw. In the geography room at school we have the Khabarovsk region emblem with a white-chest bear. It came to my mind that global warming was pernicious for big animals and I remembered the "Umka" cartoon about a polar bear cub who got to Africa on an ice floe and felt very badly there.

When I grow up I will be a forester – I wish to protect our nature from devastation. I also wish that there is less timber-cutting and more tree-planting, that there is beautiful nature and fresh air.

Regional Winner for Asia and the Pacific, Angie Chan (China)
Pollution now is going to change the normal climate, we need to stop it otherwise it leads to the end of the world! On my painting, children from all races work as a "team". The man on the left is watering and tending our plants. The next man is using a flashlight that gets its energy from the solar panel beside him. The woman on the right is tying smoke funnels up so they can't pollute our world anymore. They are all helping as a team to try and make the earth a better place for us to live in. We hope one day, the beautiful lands (the desert, tropical rainforest, the beach & Antarctica) and the seas under the "clear" rainbow still exist and enjoy their unique climates!

Regional Winner for West Asia, Ebtihal Ali Shaikh Mohamed Mansoor (Bahrain)
The earth's temperature has increased due to massive increase of toxic gases emitted by man made industries. I imagined that consequently living creatures will start to burn and perish from Earth.

The surrounding environment and personal experience is what really inspired me. My house is opposite a construction factory where lots of dust is affecting our house and health. Also my village is near an oil refinery where toxic gases are emitted. In my painting, I wanted to express the extreme level of danger our environment has reached.

I wish the climate could change for the better of our planet and be free from pollution where the air is fresh and free from toxic gases, the water is clean and free from chemicals and oil, and no more acid rains.

I am involved by participating in voluntary activities in cleaning the environment from waste, plant some trees in my schools agricultural section and arrange awareness sessions for students in my school with the help of the science section.

Currently, I am largely focusing on art, but I would like to become a medical doctor in future. Still that would not stop be from improving my artistic skills.

Regional Winner for Africa, Guy Jayce Bebeto Nindorera (Burundi)
I was inspired by the situation we are facing in Burundi but also by reading various articles around the world where people are dying of hunger and other catastrophes such as Tsunami, floods and deserts, due to human actions. As a result human beings become victims of their own interventions.

In my country Burundi, people are affected by famine due to the heavy rain on land without trees which contributes to flooding and soil erosion. I wanted to pass a message on the importance of protecting the environment. I would like to see a cleaner and healthy environment. I don't want to see deserts in Africa and rest of the world.

In my country Burundi, everyone has been invited, to participate environmental activities such as tree planting, every Saturday in order to protect nature in our country. My view is that when you destroy trees we endanger our lives. If we do not have trees, we do not have air and rain and as a result no water which means no life. That is what has motivated me to participate in the painting competition, to encourage children globally to protect their environment.

Regional Winner for North America, Juliana Wu (United States of America)
I was inspired to enter the competition because of global warming which has impacted our environment greatly and more recently, the icecaps. I thought about drawing sea animals protesting global warming, creating a sea of angry penguins and friends rioting on melting icebergs across a vast, cold blue ocean, with a dark, swirling maelstrom of poisonous smoke and pollution in a urban city as a backdrop. The two scenes represent some of Earth's citizens protesting global warming, while the rest (such as some of the people in the buildings) remain unaware of their quickly disintegrating climate.

I was also encouraged about the idea that I could help make some more people interested in helping preserve our natural surroundings and alert them to think about how the consequences of their actions will impact the environment. For instance, I depicted some penguins holding up signs about what could possibly happen in the future - a desert underwater, steadily rising temperatures, and even some cacti floating about in the waves. One penguin was even dressed accordingly to the heat and fully clothed in a flowered Hawaii shorts, flip flops, and a fan.

Global warming is a critical factor that will forever influence our future. Everybody needs to be careful in protecting our Earth for those after us and generations to come. I hope my drawing made a contribution to this cause.

Regional Winner for Europe, Maria Mykolaivna Oliynyk (Ukraine)
In my drawing I wanted to show, that all people are responsible for protection of our planet from dangerous rays. During lessons of geography in my school I learned about climate change and its dangerous consequences. I also learned more, when I received information from UNEP about the children painting competition. There was information on the importance checking climate change. I wanted to present my vision in my painting.

I want people globally to take responsibility in protecting our planet. I would want everyone to plant a tree and stop usage of dangerous aerosols. People should also ride bicycles instead of cars to reduce pollution.

During winter I feed birds. During spring and summer time I plant and take care of trees. In my daily routine I do not participate in activities that destroy the environment. And I ask my friends to do the same.

I want to be an artist or a designer. I will use only natural textile like linen, silk, cotton. No synthetics and no fur as I would also like to protect wildlife.

Regional Winner for Latin America and the Caribbean, Arvind Paragsingh (Suriname)
My name is Arvind Paragsingh. I am eleven years old and was born and raised in Paramaribo, the capital of the Republic of Suriname and I love drawing. With my drawings I want to show people how beautiful nature is. That is why I often make drawings of animals, plants and other natural / phenomenon's. It is the love and interest for nature that has inspired me to participate in this competition. I wanted to show the world how I feel and think about nature.

I think it is terrible and I am very worried that the climate is changing so rapidly that's why I wish that people would stop their irresponsible behavior towards nature. I also try to protect the environment by keeping it clean, not burning waste disposals and by participating in different activities concerning the protection of the environment. As a boy scout I also learn responsible ways to go about the environment. I am also very interested in electronics that is why in the future I want to become an electronic engineer.




Further Resources

16th International Children's Painting Competition on the Environment

Movimiento Infantil al Sondeo sobre el arte ingenioso y formal: habilitando acciones sobre el cambi

Movimiento Infantil al Sondeo sobre el arte ingenioso y formal: habilitando acciones sobre el cambi
Children's Painting Competition

Tunza: UNEP's Children and Youth Programme

World Environment Day 2007
Melting Ice - A Hot Topic!

Tunza Magazine for Youth


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