2017 UW Climate Change Video Awards: Meet the Judges!

Submissions have been rolling in during the past week, and today is the deadline for the 2017 UW Climate Change Video Contest. After we collect all the videos, we’ll turn them over to our panel of four judges to determine the finalists, which we’ll screen at the UW Climate Change Video Awards on Friday, June 2, 7 to 9 p.m. at Town Hall Seattle!

For the contest this year, we challenged high school students across the state of Washington to create a two-minute ad that will convince a climate change skeptic to take action—with a top prize of $5,000, $1,000 for second and $500 for third. We can’t wait to see how students tackled this prompt, and we’re excited to introduce the distinguished judges who’ll determine the winning videos!

Laura Jean Cronin

Laura Jean Cronin
Laura Jean Cronin has written, directed and produced an array of award-winning short films that played in festivals worldwide, including John Gill, 2000, Block Party, Leave It, Free Parking, Arthur and One Night. Laura Jean also works as a freelance 1st assistant director in the local Indie film and television industry and teaches video production skills to kids and teens at Reel Grrls, an after-school program that gives youth the tools to succeed as leaders through media production. She has recently wrapped Season Six of the Emmy Award-winning PBS show Biz Kid$, where she served as line producer. Currently, Laura Jean is a producer and director at B47 Studios in Seattle.

Melanie HarrisonDr. Melanie Harrison Okoro
Melanie is a water quality specialist and the aquatic invasive species coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, West Coast Region. She earned her doctorate in environmental science from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and her research focuses on water quality impacts to federally listed threatened and endangered species. Her passions include mentoring youth as a Big Sister in the San Francisco Bay Big Brothers Big Sister Program, and being an advocate for increasing diversity in STEM fields through her involvement with the American Association of University Women in Davis, Calif.

Cody PermenterCody Permenter
Cody is the social media manager at Seattle-based Grist.org, a nonprofit environmental news organization for people who want “a planet that doesn’t burn and a future that doesn’t suck.” Before joining Grist, Cody helped lead the social media efforts at viral news site Cheezburger.com and has been published in publications like Thrillist, The Daily Dot and USA Today. He has served on the nominating board for the Shorty Awards for the past three years, an awards program honoring the best of social media in the entertainment industry, and he studied multimedia journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.

Ethan SteinmanEthan Steinman
Ethan is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker and owner of the Seattle-based media production company, Daltonic Films. As a producer and director, he has worked over the past two decades on programming for a wide range of media outlets, including NBC, FOX, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel and A&E. During the past several years, he has produced original content for Al Jazeera English, FOX Sports, CNN, Adidas and Major League Soccer, and he directed two award-winning feature-length documentaries, including Glacial Balance, which explores the effects of climate change on Andean glaciers and the people who depend on them for survival.

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The award show and screening is free and open to the public, and we hope you’ll join us to celebrate these talented students!

Ashley Ahearn to Emcee UW Climate Change Video Awards

We are excited to announce that Ashley Ahearn, award-winning environment reporter with KUOW, will be the emcee for our 2017 UW Climate Video Awards show on Friday, June 2, at Town Hall Seattle! This is our third year hosting the UW Climate Change Video Contest, and this year’s award show and screening will feature high school students across the state of Washington who created two-minute ads addressing the prompt, “How do you convince a climate change skeptic to take action?”

In addition to her role as a reporter, Ashley is the host of a new national podcast called Terrestrial, which focuses on the choices we make in a world we have changed (the podcast launched on May 2). Or, as Ashley refers to it, it’s the “we’re f#@ked, now what?” podcast. “We, as a generation, have grown up with some level of awareness and understanding of climate change and what our emissions are doing to the planet,” says Ashley. “And we’re going to be the generation that has to figure out what to do about that—and how to live and adapt in a changed world. That’s why we’re making this podcast.”

Ashley says she’s honored to emcee the award show, and that the way she approaches an episode of the podcast might not be very different from the way these young filmmakers unpack the issue of climate change for audiences, visually.

She earned a master’s in science journalism from the University of Southern California and has completed reporting fellowships with MIT, Vermont Law School, the Metcalf Institute at the University of Rhode Island, and the Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources. She has covered numerous multimedia stories around Washington and the Pacific Northwest, from the Elwha River recovery to an interview with our own Carol Bogezi. In her spare time you’ll find her riding her motorcycle or hiking and snowboarding in the Olympic and Cascade mountains.

Submissions for the 2017 Climate Change Video Contest are due by April 30, and we’ll soon have more details to share about the award show, four judges and opening speaker!

Photo of Ashley Ahearn © Melanie Moore.

Ashley Ahearn at the Duwamish

How Do You Convince a Climate Change Skeptic?

We are very excited to announce the launch of our third annual UW Climate Change Video Contest! Our first two contests inspired some incredibly thoughtful and creative videos, and this year we’re challenging high school students throughout Washington with a new prompt: Create a two-minute ad that will convince a climate change skeptic to take action.

2017_02_2017 FlyerYour ad can be targeted at anyone—the general public, voters, a friend, family member, local politician or world leader. What matters most is the power and effectiveness of your message, from your ability to engage viewers with opposing viewpoints, to the strength of your scientific reasoning. Your video can take on any format imaginable, and we encourage you to get creative (fake news satire, Claymation, sci-fi, music video, film noir mystery, ballet, stand-up comedy routine, rock opera, personal monologue, documentary…and everything else in between).

A top prize of $5,000 awaits the winner, $1,000 for second and $500 for third, and we’ll screen and celebrate the finalists at the UW Climate Change Video Awards at Town Hall Seattle this spring.

The deadline to submit a video is Sunday, April 30, 2017, and we can’t wait to see how students tackle this challenge. So learn more about the contest, and help us spread the word to as many high schools as possible across the state!

2017_02_Blog Announcement

Climate Change Video Awards: Watch the Winning Videos!

At the conclusion of our second UW Climate Change Video Contest, we screened the 10 finalists at an awards show on Saturday, May 14, at Town Hall in downtown Seattle. We now have the winning videos uploaded and ready to share, and we invite you to enjoy the creativity and vision of the top three entries in each category—high school and undergraduate—all three minutes or shorter!

High School

First Place: Yuna Shin
Henry M. Jackson High School

Second Place: Naveen Sahi, Vibha Vadlamani, Allison Tran and Suraj Buddhavarapu
Nikola Tesla STEM High School

Third Place: Luke Brodersen
Shorewood High School

Undergraduate

First Place: Tommy Tang and Audrey Seda
UW-Bothell and Eastern Washington University

Second Place: Charles Johnson, Ben Jensen and Anthony Whitfield
University of Washington

Third Place: Aaron Hecker
University of Washington

The second-place winners in the undergraduate category, including Charles Johnson, Ben Jensen and Anthony Whitfield.

The second-place winners in the undergraduate category, including Ben Jensen, Anthony Whitfield and Charles Johnson.

UW Climate Change Videos: Watch the 10 Finalists!

Last week, we announced the winners of the UW Climate Change Video Contest, and now you can watch each of the top 10 entries! Our photographer for the evening, Erin Lodi, has also posted a wonderful gallery of shots from the awards show, and we invite you to take a look and download any images you wish to keep or share.

So grab some popcorn and enjoy the show!

Photo © Erin Lodi Photography.

Judges Randy Olson (left), Paul D. Miller and Dean Lisa Graumlich discuss one of the student films.

Judges Randy Olson (left), Paul D. Miller and Dean Lisa Graumlich discuss one of the student films.

 

And the 2015 UW Climate Change Video Contest Winners are…

The first-ever UW Climate Change Video Contest culminated with a smashing awards show at Town Hall last Friday, May 15. We screened the top 10 videos to a great crowd, and our panel of judges— Annie Leonard (also the emcee), Dean Lisa Graumlich, Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky) and Randy Olson—provided some lively feedback and discussion. We’ll post the 10 finalists’ videos on our website shortly, as well as more photos and information about the students, so stay tuned!

And, now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for—

HIGH SCHOOL CATEGORY

First Place
Leo Pfeifer and Meagen Tajalle
Ballard High School, Seattle, WA

Second Place
Teri Guo, Caeli MacLennan, Kevin Nakahara,
Ethan Perrin and Nivida Thomas
Tesla STEM High School, Redmond, WA

UNDERGRADUATE CATEGORY

First Place
Michael Moynihan and Sarra Tekola
University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Second Place
Erfan Dastournejad
Shoreline Community College, Shoreline, WA

Congratulations to all of our finalists and winners, and to all of the talented students who submitted so many fantastic videos!

UW Climate Change Video Awards: Meet the Judges!

This winter and spring, we challenged high school and undergraduate students in the state of Washington to grab a camera and show us what climate change means to them in three minutes or less for the first-ever UW Climate Change Video Contest. For months, the entries trickled in, but the pace really picked up during the last week, with a flood of submissions nearly crashing our system in the final hours!

And now the reel fun begins…

Join us at Town Hall on Friday, May 15, from 7 to 9 p.m. for a screening of the top 10 video entries, and see who snags the $5,000 grand prize—one for both the high school and college categories. A renowned panel of judges will be on hand to select the winners and discuss the students’ work.

It’s going to be a great show, and we hope you’ll join us in recognizing these incredibly talented students. The screening and award ceremony is free and open to the public, and doors open at 6:30 p.m. Register now!

Meet the Judges

Annie LeonardAnnie Leonard (Judge and emcee)
Annie Leonard was born and raised in Seattle and is now the executive director of Greenpeace USA. She is also the author and host of The Story of Stuff, an online film series that has been viewed more than 50 million times around the world.

She has visited more than 40 countries investigating the hidden environmental, social and health impacts of all the stuff in our lives, and she has worked for a number of environmental organizations, ranging from Ralph Nader’s office to Health Care Without Harm.

DJ SpookyPaul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky
Paul D. Miller is a composer, multimedia artist and writer. He has created many works based on his travels to the Arctic and Antarctic, including multimedia stage works: “Arctic Rhythms,” “Check Your Math,” “Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica”; art exhibition “Ice Music”; and The Book of Ice, a graphic book that explores the impact of climate change on Antarctica through the prism of digital media and contemporary music.

Miller’s film credits include “Rebirth of a Nation” (2007), a remixing of DW Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation”; original film score for “Downloaded” (2013), a musical documentary about the rise of NAPSTER; and original film score for “Traceable” (2014), a documentary that explores the sustainability of the fashion industry. National Geographic named Miller an Emerging Explorer (2014-2015), and he is currently touring in support of his new book, The Imaginary App.

Randy OlsonRandy Olson
Scientist-turned-filmmaker Randy Olson realized that after 15 years of telling stories OF science he had grown more interested in telling stories ABOUT science. Despite his Harvard Ph.D., four years of post-doctoral research in Australia and Florida, and years of diving around the world from the Great Barrier Reef to Antarctica, he tossed it all in, resigned from his tenured professorship at the University of New Hampshire, and moved to Hollywood to explore film as a medium for communicating science.

In addition to writing and directing his own feature films about major issues in science, Olson has worked with a variety of clients to assist them with the use of visual media in communicating science to the general public. Through his writings he has both related his journey, and continues his exploration into the role of storytelling in the mass communication of science.

Dean Lisa GraumlichDean Lisa J. Graumlich
Dr. Lisa J. Graumlich, Virginia and Prentice Bloedel Professor, is the inaugural dean of the College of the Environment at the University of Washington. As dean, she leads a college with unparalleled depth and breadth in environmental systems: from the forests to the seas, and from the depths of the Earth to the edges of the solar system. As a scholar, Graumlich pioneered the use of tree-ring data to understand long-term trends in climate, focusing on the mountains of western North America. She is actively engaged with a broad range of stakeholders to understand the impacts of climate change on wilderness and natural areas.

Director’s Message: Winter 2015

Last weekend, I woke up early and pored over newspapers and websites looking for a place to ski with my sons. I was extremely disappointed to see rain again forecasted for Snoqualmie Pass, with more rain predicted in the next two days, all the way up to 6,000 feet. A few ski areas were open, but those that were had limited runs available, or the conditions were icy and ragged and threatened to tear up your skis. Another time of year, such a soggy forecast would be welcome news. But it was a grim outlook for the first weekend in January.

As an avid alpine and Nordic skier, I am acutely aware of the poor early-season snow conditions that have plagued the Pacific Northwest since my family moved here in 2012. As a natural scientist, I am also keenly aware of the complexities of regional weather patterns, and I have to resist the temptation to ascribe all poor ski conditions to a warming climate. At the same time, climate change is predicted to bring warmer, wetter winters to the region, and the existing conditions at Snoqualmie Pass are bearing that out. I know some might chide me and argue that a shortened ski season is hardly cause for global panic. Yet the effects of our warmer winters will eventually ripple throughout the natural resources sector, threatening forest productivity, widespread insect outbreaks, stand-replacing fires, mudslides and all sorts of critical wildlife habitat, including salmon-spawning streams.

UW Climate Change Video Contest

In our first-ever Climate Change Video Contest, we are asking high school and undergraduate students in the state of Washington: What does climate change mean to you?

I couldn’t sleep later that night, and I found myself thinking about personal responsibility and how we can inspire collective action. Scientists have long understood and attempted to communicate the risks of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning, and the links between our behavior and climate change are very real and well-documented. Yet after decades of trying to build awareness, we have largely failed to move the voting public or our elected leaders to take determined action. During the holidays, I even read several reports that the recent downturn in gasoline prices has spurred higher sales of larger, fuel-consumptive vehicles. This type of short-term thinking reflects the gulf between what we’re constantly warned about climate change, and how we actually react as citizens.

The most frustrating part for me is wondering why these warnings won’t stick, so maybe we need to rethink our approach. Maybe we need to change the message. Or maybe we just need to change who is delivering the message and give prominent voice to younger generations—the future leaders who will inherit and confront the greatest impacts of climate change.

With that goal in mind, this year we are trying a new approach to addressing the climate issue. Rather than asking our scientists to tell a story of modeled predictions of a warming climate, we are hosting a video contest that challenges high school and college students in the state of Washington with a simple prompt: What does climate change mean to you? In the space of three minutes or less, they can approach the issue through virtually any artistic style. How to make this climate message resonate on a personal and actionable level, after all, is all that matters at this point.

So I’m really looking forward to seeing how students frame this issue. I’m excited to see what inspiration and ideas we can draw from them in communicating—and solving—the enormous environmental challenges ahead of us.

I’ll keep eyeing the forecast and hoping for more snow, of course, but always in the much broader context of achieving a sustainable balance with a changing climate and world.

Happy trails,

Tom DeLuca
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences