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UC Students Get Personal About Climate Change

October 31, 2023
Lindsey Ngo


Winners of the Climate Creativity Contest put on by the student-led Climate Change Review (CCR) were announced last week. Undergraduate student writers and artists from UC Los Angeles, UC Irvine, and UC San Diego were recognized for achievements in educational nonfiction pieces, creative poetry, digital art, and photography.

“Everyone at CCR hoped to inspire students to self-express their turmoil regarding climate change,” says Lindsey Ngo, director of CCR and a third-year political science major at UC San Diego. “The looming dread of a future shaped by climate change is a struggle I think everyone in our generation can relate to, but we rarely have the spotlight to discuss it. So, we’re proud to be a platform for everyday students to voice these suppressed thoughts, and to demonstrate diverse perspectives that illuminate the future just that much more.”

The Climate Change Review is a University of California (UC) student-led publication dedicated to understanding the interdisciplinary challenge of climate change, and to encourage students UC-wide to demonstrate their engagement and passion for this pressing issue. A space for students to share their thoughts on climate change, the publication serves to cultivate critical thinking and expression in both its writers and readers. The Climate Change Review has touched upon a variety of topics including architecture, environmental justice, policy, and art.

To encourage undergraduate students across the UCs to think critically about climate change, CCR leadership decided to host a Climate Creativity Contest. Students from across the UC system could submit a piece related to climate change, in one of three categories: non-fiction, poetry, or art. The range of possibilities was limitless, allowing students to connect their everyday lives to the greater issue of climate change. There was an outpour of feelings, moments of bitter frustration, exhausted sorrow, and tentative hope for a better future on full display. Encompassing the personal thoughts of these students, the contest has shed a light on stories that might not have been otherwise told, revealing a vulnerability that speaks volumes about today’s youth and their internalization of climate change.

Without further ado, the winners of CCR’s Climate Creativity Contest are:


  • 2nd – “Leave Me Alone. XOXO, Oil” by Joyce Pang (UC San Diego, Urban Studies and Planning, Minoring in Speculative Design and Sociocultural Anthropology)

  • 3rd –Coral” by Michelle Tang
  • Honorable Mention –Pollution” by Katelyn Ramirez (UC San Diego, Psychology)


  • 1st – “Ignorance is Bliss” by Allison Iannucci (UC San Diego, Environmental Systems: Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution)

  • 2nd – “Light Pollution” by Dhaval Jani  (UC San Diego, Computer Science major with a minor in Environmental Systems)

  • 3rd – “Stella Starfish” by Sophia Michelson (UC Irvine, Psychology with a minor in Global Sustainability)

  • Honorable Mention – “Billion Degrees” by Jenna Elaidy (UC San Diego, International Relations and Public Law)


  • 3rd – “The Sustainable CookBook” by Phoebe Skok, Conner Hines, Zongze Chen, and Ying Niu (UC San Diego, From left to right: Zongze: Molecular and Cell Biology; Ying: International Business; Conner: International Business; Phoebe: master’s in climate science and policy)

All of the submitted pieces have been proudly published on The Climate Change Review, from art that passionately displays the welling resentment against corporate apathy, to poetry that digs up a father’s comforting words, and an extensively researched book to help people eat more sustainably. These works are all deeply personal to the creators, consistent with the magnitude of climate change as a pressing issue to the younger generation. It never leaves their mind and haunts their hopes for the future, but ultimately pushes them to strive for a better world, one where it is no longer such a hanging weight. To witness their pieces is to peek into their inner minds, getting just that much closer to understanding how all-encompassing climate change is, both in the personal and public.

The Climate Creativity Contest was made possible in part by the support of the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC), utilizing their strong platform and funds to reach a larger audience. Working with IGCC has ensured that The Climate Change Review continues to grow, inviting more undergraduate students to display their knowledge and work.

Lindsey Ngo is the Editor-in-Chief of CCR, and a third-year political science major at UC San Diego.

Thumbnail credit: Katelyn Ramirez