Author: Evelyn Lee (Second place)

In a world plagued by the omnipresent consequences of climate change, it’s incredibly crucial

that we shine a light on the most vulnerable victims: the children. The future generation, despite

having no fault when it comes to the issue of climate change, bears the brunt of environmental

degradation, particularly in developing countries, where their futures are compromised by

polluted environments and the lack of basic necessities. As someone concerned about the

pressing issue of climate change, I chose to use BlueWillow to create a portrait of a boy

standing in the middle of a river, with an almost apocalyptic environment serving as the

backdrop. My entry aims to raise awareness about the profound impact of climate change on

children and the subsequent loss of potential and innovation that the world suffers as a result.

In many developing nations, children endure the harshest consequences of climate change.

They face the horrifying reality of being unable to access clean food and water, leading to

malnutrition and various health complications. For instance, many illnesses that

disproportionately impact children such as cholera, polio, diphtheria, and malaria can all be

exacerbated by the effects of climate change. These vulnerable young individuals often bear the

responsibility of supporting their families– thus they’re forced to forgo education and valuable

opportunities to make ends meet. Instead of practicing math or science in a classroom, these

children are forced to work long hours to help their families make a living. This is especially

prevalent in agricultural communities, where climate change can drastically alter the crop yield

that a household might produce, and as a result, can create an even heavier burden on the

children. This unfortunate cycle perpetuates the loss of potential and stifles the emergence of

future innovators who could contribute to solving the global climate crisis. Because of climate

change, millions of children across the world are robbed of their education. And because these

children aren’t being educated and introduced to the workforce, there won’t be enough

researchers, scientists, and entrepreneurs to help solve climate change in the future.

By utilizing BlueWillow, I prompted it to create a visually striking depiction of a child amidst a

heavily polluted and dilapidated environment. The hyper-realistic nature of the artwork serves as

a jarring reminder of the harsh realities faced by children affected by climate change, helping the

onlookers realize the magnitude of the global crisis we’re in. The child is facing away from the

onlooker to both convey a sense of loneliness and despair, but to also present the child as the

main focal point– which should be the case when discussing the horrible impacts of climate

change. It also adds an air of mystery, prompting the onlooker to wonder about the child’s

hopes, dreams, and goals in life, and how it might’ve been impacted– or even destroyed– by

climate change. In the background, I decided to add signs of climate change such as chopped

down trees and clouds of smog. However, I tried to make the river a secondary focal point as

well– although it was once full, unpolluted, and life-sustaining, it’s now a dried up husk of what it

once was (with trash and rotting wood lining the riverbed as well). Through the medium of art, I

hope to spark a profound emotional response, stirring the hearts and minds of viewers, and

inspiring them to take action.

The most devastating aspect of the vicious cycle caused by climate change is the loss of

potential. By depriving children of clean environments, education, and basic necessities, we

stifle their ability to realize their full potential. These children are the untapped wellspring of

creativity, innovation, and problem-solving skills that could significantly help address climate

change. By highlighting this loss through art, it emphasizes the urgent need to protect and

nurture the potential of every child, ensuring that they have the opportunity to flourish and

become the change-makers our world desperately needs.

This piece can help shed light on the devastating effects of climate change on children across

the world– especially in developing countries where the impact of climate-related disasters hits

the hardest. By utilizing BlueWillow, an AI art generator, to create a hyper-realistic picture, I

hope to evoke empathy, raise awareness, and inspire action.