Submissions open for eighth-annual Sustainability Poetry Contest

Poets with a unique vision of a sustainable future on Earth are encouraged to contribute a submission to this year’s Sustainability Poetry Contest.

Hosted by Brock University’s United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chair, the annual contest is now in its eighth year and is open to everyone in the Niagara region.

The theme this year is “Beyond Sustainability,” which relates to the Brock-led transdisciplinary research project of the same name.

The team of researchers are investigating new ways of thinking about how humans interact with non-humans and the natural environment in order to ensure a more socially equitable and environmentally viable world.

Liette Vasseur, Beyond Sustainability Principal Investigator and UNESCO Chair, said this year’s call for poems aims to involve the public in the conversation about possibilities for the future.

“With the various crises that have been affecting us — from the COVID-19 pandemic to the loss of biodiversity, land degradation, and climate change — we need to rethink our world, reconnect with nature, and think about what we really need versus simply what we want,” she said. “The current overconsumption-based lifestyle is not sustainable, and poets are encouraged to think about how we can change the systems in place today and contribute to a better future for us all.”

The contest aligns with the UNESCO World Poetry Day, which has been celebrated on March 21 every year since 1999. The goal is to use poetry as a social tool to bring awareness to social issues, give a voice to the community, promote linguistic diversity, and change the way people view their place in the world.

All Niagara residents are eligible to enter their original, unpublished poems for this year’s contest, which includes categories for elementary, high school and post-secondary students, as well as the general public. Poems will be accepted in English and French.

Poems can be submitted online until 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11 by visiting the UNESCO Chair’s website. Prizes, such as books and gift cards, will be awarded in each of the four categories. The winners will be publicly announced. All poems are also published in an e-book compilation.

All poets will be celebrated at a Poetry Day Celebration on March 21, 2022. More details about the event, including the location and program, will be available closer to the date and can be found on the Sustainability Poetry Contest.

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