“Ocean in 500 Years” by Valerie Dou

Valerie Dou, 17, of the United States is the winner of the United Nation’s 2019 International Youth Art Contest. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) sponsored the contest in collaboration with the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in celebration of World Wildlife Day 2019.  World Wildlife Day is intended to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants, and this year’s contest focused on marine species with the theme of Life below water: for people and planet, which is in alignment with UN Sustainable Development Goal 14, and intended to build a sense of connection between youth and the marine world.  Grand prize winner Valerie Dou said, “I chose to paint this scene because I immediately thought about the marine wildlife that must be suffering from the pollution and climate change that is occurring. We may not see the immediate pervasiveness of the issue but I believe it is in this critical window that we can help make the biggest impact.”  It is a beautiful tribute to the world beneath the ocean’s surface.  I (Monica) was honored to be one of several judges of the contest, and it was tough to choose a winner.  Congratulations, Valerie! 

And as a bonus, here is the winner of National Geographic’s wildlife photo contest in honor of their reaching 100 million followers on Instagram.  Wow!  Congrats to them too!  And check out all their finalists here.

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