AMES–There are two things Ames High School students Katelyn Moore and Carly Watson had never done before they won the Iowa Climate Prize video award. They’d never made a video and they’d never made the connection between recent weather events in Iowa and the reality of global climate change.
That didn’t stop them from entering the Iowa Climate Prize video award contest last year after their science teacher DeAnna Tibben announced it.
Watson said, “We were sitting in class and we looked at each other and ‘said let’s do it!’ We’ve never done anything on this scale or anything so important.”
That undaunted spirit shined through the winning video Moore and Watson produced, according to David Grewell, a professor in the Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering department at Iowa State University and the representative from the Iowa Climate Prize Committee who presented the award on Tuesday, Oct. 14.
“As soon as I saw the video, I knew it was the one going to win,” he said. “I was asking myself, where are these young girls going to be in 10 years?’
The Iowa Climate Prize, established in 2013, rewards creative efforts to educate about climate change, its causes and effects, as well as ways to mitigate its consequences. The aim of Iowa Climate Prize video award was to spur the “development of short, compelling videos on climate change that encourage immediate action to reduce greenhouse gases,” the organization’s website says.
Moore and Watson researched climate issues in Iowa and looked for the most accessible and easy ways to help control global climate change, they said.
“Mrs. Tibben reviewed our video for accuracy and then we submitted it to the Iowa Climate Prize Committee,” Moore said. “The Committee approved the video to be entered into the contest to win $5,000.”
Grewell said the video received about 1,500 votes.
Moore and Watson said they were astonished to learn through their research that extreme weather patterns in Iowa that began in recent years are caused by climate change.
Rains, flooding, drought and temperature extremes are already reducing Iowa’s agricultural productivity and causing an increase in insects and pests that cause diseases and destroy crops, they said in their video.
Moore said she was reassured to learn how “small steps” really matter in mitigating climate change, and has altered some of her personal habits as a result.
“I hope people will learn what’s at stake for our future, and be willing to make the time and effort and investment to achieve realized the long-term benefits,” she said.
In their video, Moore and Watson recommended that people start trying to reduce the effects of climate change by estimating and reducing carbon emissions, recycling, using efficient heating and cooling systems, and using renewable energy sources for electricity.
Watson and Moore, who are both in 10th grade, say they’ll probably deposit their prize money in their college funds. Although they still have plenty of time to consider what to study after high school, they say entering the contest changed their perspectives on what they can accomplish.
Now they know they can make a difference and inspire other people, they said.