“Poring over these submissions left me emotional; whether molded with hands, painted by brush, or captured through a photographic eye, I am moved by the restless calling and commitment of the human spirit to document this perilous moment we are living in. The climate crisis will not be solved by scientific measure alone—it requires the creativity that the arts have always brought forth into the world, as shown by these poignant pieces.”

– Willow Defebaugh, Juror / Editor-in-Chief of Atmos Magazine

Winner - The passage of storms

by gab mejia

After enduring Super Typhoon Rai (locally known as ‘Odette’) in 2021, the Philippines grapples with the aftermath, highlighting the nation’s vulnerability to frequent typhoons. The emotional toll on coastal communities is profound, questioning the gods they turn to for salvation amid a cyclic system of destruction and reconstruction. The Passage of Storms captures the scars left by super typhoons, serving as a visual elegy and documentary to the forgotten lives in a sea that remembers.

second place - Nightmare

by Francesco Migliaccio

“NightMare” for #CreateCOP28 explores the dual nature of seaweed, symbolised by its Italian roots (‘mare’ meaning sea). The project delves into the benefits and drawbacks of this marine resource, from carbon absorption to environmental hazards. While seaweed is touted as “green gold,” it’s exponential growth due to warming seas, strong winds, and pollution poses challenges. The Sargassum bloom in the Caribbean, fuelled by human activities, exemplifies the scale of the issue. The UN calls for cautious optimism and more research on seaweed aquaculture’s potential risks. Exploitation of local communities, like women sea divers in India, adds a social dimension to the problem. “NightMare” encourages a conscious approach, emphasising the need to respect the Earth and its people amid the promise and perils of seaweed farming.

second place - 1.5 Degrees of Peace

by Kasha Sequoia Slavner

The global climate crisis sparks instability, with factors like resource scarcity, climate migration, environmental racism, and economic insecurity escalating the risk of violence. BIPOC youth and those in the Global South lead intersectional movements addressing these issues. “1.5 Degrees of Peace” is a character-driven documentary highlighting the challenges and solutions of youth at the climate crisis, militarisation, and conflict nexus. It explores their quest for environmental justice and demilitarisation, showcasing visionary solutions and offering a glimpse into a world that works.

third place - Mhaijeratt Tales: Living Amidst Landfills

by María Legaristi Royo

This work documents the community of Mhaijeratt in Mauritania. Amidst the vast expanse of sand and sun, a community lives and works to clean up the land. Through these images, the stark reality of environmental challenges faced by the community are exposed, while also giving us a chance celebrating their undying spirit and the hope they harbor for a cleaner, brighter future.

third place - Styles of the Anthropocene

by Corinne Rivera

‘Styles of the Anthropocene’ aims to humanise the climate crisis, injecting harsh truths into familiar spaces. Rooted in grief, the series sparks curiosity about issues like algae blooms, oil spills and microplastics. The artist suggests framing climate conversations with a fashion-influenced lens can broaden engagement and foster a new connection to the natural world.

third place - Junkspace (Film)

by Chloe Karnezi

‘Junkspace’ captures discarded fragments like a frayed YAMAHA motorcycle seat and a NESTLÉ-embossed bin, exploring the liminal realm of waste objects. Inspired by John Scanlan’s idea that garbage remains after an object’s usefulness ends, the project sees waste as a failure of imagination. The video, featuring a disembodied voice reciting a poem, highlights the transformative power of reimagining objects, prolonging their life cycle. Using photogrammetry in Athens, Greece, Chloe has digitally resurrected these objects, allowing imagination to reign and giving them a new life in sculptural assemblages within another realm.

third place - Flooded House

by Julia Daser

How would we change if we suffered the consequences of our own unsustainable actions? 

Flooded House simulates this scenario. Through Julia’s participatory artwork, she wants to emphasise the lack of accountability of high-income countries when it comes to climate change. More often than not, western countries are responsible for the majority of CO2 emissions, yet more vulnerable communities pay the price.

In her artwork, the user’s actions in the project determine how much their own home is destroyed by climate change due to ocean level rise. In such, actions directly equate to consequences. Through Julia’s project, she wants to foster empathy and create a sense of responsibility for our own actions.

third place - Ocean Soundscape: Installation about Ocean Pollution

by Lize Briel

‘Ocean Soundscape’ is a 20-minute musical composition using a string quintet, trash, and electronics to raise awareness about ocean pollution. The piece uses trash integrated into the music to mirror the pollution of our oceans, emphasising that waste can transform into art. The composition takes listeners from the depths to the surface of the ocean, depicting the widespread impact of pollution. It incorporates oceanic sounds, discarded debris, electronic elements, and improvisations, concluding with a cello solo evoking hope.

The work was performed by Caro Hill (Vln1), Dane Hayes (Vln2), Mariette Schumann (Vla), Ethan Lawson (Vc), Njabulo Nxumalo (Db), and Antoni Schonken (electronics).