Wilderness 2.0 Essay Contest
Almost 50 years ago, the Wilderness Act was passed, permanently protecting 110 million acres of timeless lands for generations to enjoy. But in that same time period, our idea of wilderness has been starkly challenged. In this era of climate change and overdevelopment, it is more difficult to experience a natural world free of human influence -- a pristine wilderness where our spirits can awaken to authentic, untouched nature. Many in Generations Y, Z, and beyond may never experience pristine wilderness firsthand, instead experiencing only what humans have created.
So we pose the question: What does wilderness mean to the millennial generation? Does the idea of wilderness have any relevance for 21st-century environmentalists? Is there still a case to be made for wilderness? If so, how can we make that case?
We invite essays on the idea of wilderness from young writers. The winning essay will be invited to publish in the Sierra Club's online magazine and potentially in an edited volume produced by the contest organizers.
- Essays should be no more than 750 words, in English, and must be uploaded in .doc, .docx, or .pdf form.
- Participants must be born ON OR AFTER Jan. 1, 1980.
- Coauthored essays are not permitted.
- You retain the copyright to your essay.
- Deadline to submit an essay is June 21, 2013.
This contest is sponsored by the Sierra Club.
Contest organizers: Kimberly Smith, Carleton College; Matthew Kirby, Sierra Club.
Questions should be directed to Kimberly Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Is Wilderness?
The Wilderness Act of 1964 created a new category of protected lands, owned by all Americans, where "the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain." They are areas set aside by Congress for their astounding natural character, permanently off-limits to development so they can be enjoyed by the public -- and not exploited by special interests.
Wilderness designations protect some of our most cherished landscapes, from Yosemite National Park to the heart of Maine's Northwoods to the Florida Everglades. Americans visit these areas year after year to hike, hunt, fish, backpack, and canoe. Wilderness designations protect vital habitat for plants and animals, while boosting the economies of local communities through tourism and recreation. They are central to our nation's wild legacy, a source of inspiration to millions, and worth our best efforts at protection.