raise your voice
Youth4Nature Storytelling Campaign: Submission Guidelines
We believe that youth have strong and compelling stories to share about the connections between nature and the climate crisis. Therefore, Youth4Nature is calling on young people from all over the world to submit their stories about nature-based solutions. We are building a platform for the voices of young people to be heard and for their perspectives to be shared. Our goal is to elevate the voices of youth, amplify them across media, and build the potential of young people to be stewards for a “nature for climate” movement. Stories will be shared online on a multimedia story-map, as well as through digital and social media.
We also aim to select a few storytellers to share their stories on the international stage by joining the Youth4Nature delegation to the United Nations Secretary-General Climate Action Summit in New York this September!
What we are looking (and not looking) for:
We are looking for young people to share their experiences with the land and waters they live on and how those lands and waters have influenced their climate actions. We are especially looking for stories of youth engaging with nature-based solutions on the ground in their communities.
We are looking for personal stories, with compelling and strong voices, that are specific to communities and regions. Stories should be as locally-based as possible, and the storyteller should demonstrate their direct connection with their local lands and waters. Stories should also clearly connect nature to the climate crisis, preferably through a solutions lens.
We encourage a variety of stories on nature-based solutions! Stories about forests, aquatic and coastal ecosystems, agriculture and food, desertification and soil, nature in urban areas, and local and traditional knowledge are all welcome.
Some guiding questions to help you in submitting a story include:
Has nature influenced the way you think about and address the climate crisis?
Which nature-based solutions have a potential for ecosystem restoration and climate mitigation in your community?
Have you been involved in promoting nature-based solutions in your community? What was the experience like? What were the main obstacles? What helped the most in implementation?
From your own experience, how could national or local legislation better support nature-based solutions?
We are NOT looking for:
Essays or theoretical pieces about the climate crisis and nature-based solutions;
Academic research papers;
Stories about other people, or about actions/initiatives that the storyteller was not a part of and/or has no direct connection to;
Statements or opinion pieces on what we, as a global collective, should do;
Stories about solutions to the climate crisis that are not nature-based (e.g., renewable energy technology, sustainable transportation, circular economy initiatives, etc.).
We ARE encouraging sincere and personal stories that will share with the world how young people value nature in the midst of the climate crisis and how young people are taking a leadership role to implement nature-based solutions on the local scale. If nature has inspired your actions in the current climate crisis, we (and many youth around the world) want to hear about it! Much has been shared about the global climate crisis and about what we should be doing. Now we want you to share your personal and local story. Let your actions give hope and inspire solutions by and for youth all around the world.
Participants should be youth, between 18 and 30 years old (born between 1989 and 2001).
Submissions can be made by individuals or groups. In the case of group submissions, only one member will be considered for the UNSG Summit. It is up to the group to decide who that member will be. All group members must be youth.
Only one submission per participant. If you submitted as a group, that submission counts as your single submission.
We are accepting visual and written submissions, including photos, videos, and blog posts;
Stories must be uploaded directly as a file. Acceptable file formats include:
Video: MP4 (.mp4), Windows Media Video (.wmv), Flash Video (.flv), AVI (.avi), and QuickTime (.mov).
Image: JPEG (.jpg and .jpeg), PDF (.pdf) and PNG (.png).
Text: Microsoft Word file (.doc and .docx), and PDF (.pdf).
All uploaded files must be clearly and appropriately labelled, and include the name of the participant. Please use this format: “Name_Description.file-type”
Submissions should adhere to the following standards:
Up to 5 minutes in length;
Recorded in landscape format;
Tells a story - videos of one or more people talking in one location for the entire duration are not encouraged (make use of the medium!);
If parts of, or the entirety of, spoken scenes are in a language other than English, include English subtitles. We encourage participants to film stories in their own language/the language where actions are taking place, but please do add English subtitles.
Include written descriptions, up to 200 words in length, of each photograph submitted. Image files must be clearly and adequately labelled and matched with their relevant text;
For visual stories, an accompanying written submission is particularly encouraged to provide context.
Up to 1500 words in length;
Follows a storytelling format: has a beginning, middle, and end, and shares a personal narrative in a compelling voice;
Includes a clear title;
Any quotations must be clearly and appropriately cited.
All submissions must be the original work of the author(s). If submitting a story that has previously been published, the story must be updated in some way and a link to the previous publication must be included in the submission.
All stories will be published in English. However, we encourage submissions in other languages as well, including French, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Swahili, Hindi and Urdu. If submitting in one of these languages, your story will be published by us twice: once in the original submission language and once in English. If submitting in a language other than English, we highly encourage you to also provide an English translation (i.e. text, audio, subtitles) to prevent any misunderstandings in translation.
We encourage English subtitles for video submissions when other languages are being spoken.
Additional languages might be considered as well, please get in touch with the Youth4Nature team to know more.
Within these limits, you can be as creative as you want! Think of your audience: young people who are looking to be inspired and moved by their peers.
How to submit a story
Fill out the following form: https://forms.gle/fLmAD3hLs6yZm5Mx5
Deadlines: stories are accepted on an ongoing basis, starting from June 8th
We recommend submitting before the deadline, as we will profile stories online as we receive them. This includes on our own platforms online and on social media, and also through potential submissions to traditional media sources!
For your story to be considered for the UNSG Summit, you must submit it by July 21st.
What are Nature-Based Solutions?
According to the IUCN, “Nature-Based Solutions are actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing benefits to human well-being and biodiversity. Nature-based solutions, such as the restoration of forests, grasslands and wetlands or sustainable land management activities, can provide governments with effective, long-term and cost-efficient measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change.”
According to the ground-breaking study led by The Nature Conservancy, Natural Climate Solutions (i.e., nature-based solutions that specifically focus on addressing climate change mitigation) have the potential to provide 37% of cost-effective CO2 mitigation needed through 2030 for greater than a two-thirds chance of keeping warming below 2Co. The majority of these nature-based solutions can also offer a suite of additional benefits that will aid in climate adaptation, including flood buffering, improving soil health and ecosystem biodiversity, and enhancing climate resilience. However, the role that nature can play in climate action is not often recognized in discussion or in funding.
Examples of Nature-Based Solutions for Climate Change:
Conserving and restoring forests, grasslands, and wetlands, and restoring degraded and/or deforested land;
Conserving and restoring coastal ecosystems, such as saltmarshes, seagrass meadows, coral reefs, and mangrove forests;
Establishing sustainable agricultural practices that conserve soil carbon and increase soil carbon sequestration;
Improving forest management to incorporate biodiversity and ecosystem science and enhance carbon storage and sequestration;
Conserving and increasing natural areas in cities, including through protecting and creating eco-corridors to preserve biodiversity.
Nature-Based Solutions for Climate Change do NOT include:
Planting monoculture tree plantations (i.e., removing natural forests for palm oil plantations);
Artificially transforming natural grasslands into forested landscapes (afforestation);
Green roofs, or green walls, on buildings;
Solar panel farms, or other renewable energy projects.
Terms and Conditions
Licensing and Media Release:
When submitting a story, you are consenting to submit under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC 4.0). This means that Youth4Nature, and others, are free to share and adapt your submission, in non-commercial settings, as long as proper attribution is provided. See the license deed for more information.
Youth4Nature will be sharing the stories we receive on our own story-map online platform, on our social media accounts, as well as shared through traditional media. We also will be sharing stories on-the-ground at relevant events during the UNSG Climate Action Summit in New York. Our aim is to elevate and amplify the voices of youth, increasing the reach that these stories receive as far as possible, to build a global voice of youth advocating for nature-based solutions.
All participants in the Youth4Nature Storytelling Campaign must also consent to the linked Media Release agreement. This agreement allows the Youth4Nature Storytelling Campaign to share select personal information of the participants, including: names, age, country of origin, and social media profiles.
Participants have the option to submit stories semi-anonymously. You will still share personal details with us, but your stories will be anonymous when made public. Stories will still be submitted under the CC BY-NC 4.0 license.
The UN Secretary-General (UNSG) António Guterres has organized the Climate Action Summit for the 23rd of September of 2019, calling on all leaders to come with concrete, realistic plans to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050. The Summit will bring together governments, the private sector, civil society, local authorities and other international organizations.
We aim to select a few storytellers to attend the Summit as a part of the Youth4Nature delegation and share their stories. We are looking for strong, compelling stories of young people taking action on nature-based climate solutions in their communities. To be considered, you must:
Be available to be in New York from September 18-27th, 2019;
Be legally able to enter the United States of America;
Indicate interest in being considered for this opportunity when submitting your story;
Submit your story by July 21st, 2019.
We will be contacting shortlisted storytellers for more information (including a potential interview process) before confirming selection. We intend to fully compensate all travel costs for the selected delegates.
Note: If you decide to submit a story anonymously, you will not be considered to attend the Summit.
If you have any questions about the Youth4Nature Storytelling Campaign, do not hesitate to reach out to us at email@example.com