Environmental essay contest student entries due March 11

February 14, 2024

Delaware Interfaith Power & Light announced its third annual essay contest, open to all high school students statewide, is called Renew ... Reflective Essays on Nature, Earth and Their Wonders. Renew is a platform for all current high school students to reflect in writing the unique role of youth on climate action, growing concerns over environmental justice, and their personal sense of connectedness with the natural world.

Essays should be original works crafted by the students, a maximum of 1,500 words on one of the three topics, and emailed anytime between Monday, Feb. 26 and Monday, March 11, to

Ten cash awards totaling $8,000 will go to the winning essayists.

Part of the inspiration for this contest came last year when Delaware Interfaith Power & Light hosted Michael Nelson and Kathleen Dean Moore, co-editors of “Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril,” as presenters for one of its monthly webinars. “Moral Ground,” first published in 2010 and recently reissued, is a collection of essays from more than 80 visionaries around the globe presenting a compelling call to honor people’s individual and collective moral responsibility to the planet.

The intent of this essay contest is to hear from Delaware’s young visionaries and to encourage them to give voice to their own passions, perspectives, motivations, fears and hopes for the future.

A diverse panel of judges, joined by Moral Ground editors Moore and Nelson, will review and identify winning essays. Scoring will be based on clarity, passion, attention to theme, creativity and effectiveness. An awards ceremony will be planned for April, around Earth Day.

“Each year, we expand opportunities to showcase these young voices in print and in person,” said Lisa Locke, co-coordinator of the initiative. “Last year, essayists were invited to appear on the floor of the Delaware state House and Senate on their last day in session, when several environmental bills were passed, and [the students] were given standing ovations. That was such a thrill for them. And they have already been invited back this year.”

The mission of Delaware Interfaith Power & Light is to engage faith communities and community partners in addressing the causes and consequences of climate change; to scientifically inform and spiritually deepen people’s understanding of their relationship with the natural world and with each other; and to act on those understandings.

For more information, go to, email questions to or Lisa Locke at, or text or call Charanjeet Singh Minhas at 302-359-2155.


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