Thirteen students from four countries and seven U.S. states earned the top spots in the World of 7 Billion video contest. The winning videos were announced on May 7th and can be viewed, along with bios of the student filmmakers, online now. The contest name refers to the fact that the growth of the planet’s population continues past the seven billion mark reached in 2011 and that people are central to many of the environmental and social issues facing the world today.

The competition challenged students in grades nine to twelve worldwide to create short videos that would connect population growth to one of three global challenges and offer an idea for a sustainable solution to the issue. The videos had to be less than one minute in length and awards were given by topical category.

Winners for the global challenge: “We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction.”

Winners for the global challenge: “Most of the world’s suitable farmland is already under cultivation.”

  • First place: Madison Bernier, Virginia Beach, VA – Video title: Our Future Food Demand
  • Second place: Dylan Kroft, Kaohsiung, Taiwan – Video title: Save Land, Save Humanity
  • Honorable mention: Tim Eddy, Ballina East, NSW, Australia – Video title: Choices
  • Honorable mention: Cynthia Zhou, Vancouver, BC, Canada – Video title: Beef Up Sustainable Farming

Winners for the global challenge: “Worldwide, 1 in 10 primary school age children and 1 in 3 secondary age children are not enrolled in school.”

  • First place: Andrew Schwenn, Coppell, TX – Video title: What Would You Sacrifice for an Education?
  • Second place: Hailey Hess, Coppell, TX – Video title: Stop the Cycle
  • Honorable mention: Matthew Buxton, Sandy, UT – Video title: Universal Education and How It Gives Everyone a Fair Chance
  • Honorable mention: Niquelle Lewis, Idaho Falls, ID – Video title: Would You Make That Difference?

“Video is a powerful and engaging means of communication,” said John Seager, president of Population Connection. “We are amazed each year by the quality of submissions and their ability to tell a story and connect to people’s emotions in 60 seconds. We had winning entries from ‘seasoned’ videographers and from novices, and they are all just amazingly talented at exploring these issues and explaining why they matter to them.”

Videos were received from 39 US states—plus Washington, DC—and 23 other countries with 865 video submissions in total. Pam Wasserman, Senior Vice President for Education at Population Connection, noted “this year’s videos seemed especially thoughtful given the complexity of topics. And it was exciting to see what solutions the students offered that would impact positive future change.”

The contest was promoted throughout the 2014-2015 school year with final submissions due February 19th. A panel of 28 judges, including college and high school educators, filmmakers, and professionals working in the topic fields, selected the winners.

Visit the World of 7 Billion website for more information on the contest.

View the winning videos and read bios of the student filmmakers.

Want to use the contest in you classroom or share with future students? Sign-up today and you’ll receive updates and information on the 2015-2016 contest as it becomes available.

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