By Kathy Knotts
Last year, we brought you the story of Arnav Bali, a student at Central Middle School in Edgewater. Arnav had won the top prize in an international environmental video competition for students in grade 6 through 12.
He’s done it again.
Last year’s winning video was about electronic waste. This year, he tackled urban sprawl. His winning video looked at how a growing population needs more housing, which can disrupt important wildlife habitats. It’s a problem he’s seen up close. “I live in an urban area, too… I see how dense population affects the environment.”
The contest was the 11th annual World of 7 Billion video contest sponsored by Population Connection. Students are asked to explore population growth as it relates to agriculture and food, ocean health, and urbanization.
It was by chance that Arnav even found the contest. It was his skill that made him a two-time winner. “I had found this contest after my newfound interest in film making pushed me to find opportunities to help make me better at this skill. I searched online for ways to do this and this competition was the best way for me to show my passion for making videos, along with sharing knowledge with others.”
Arnav says he was very surprised to learn he had won the competition again. “This was my first time re-entering any competition and trying to compete at a greater level as there were 2,638 contestants—300 more than last year’s 2,274 contestants. I also feel that this is a very competitive contest.”
He says he will use his $600 prize money “to help gather more resources to make my videos better and provide a better viewing experience.”
It’s not the only video contest he has won, either. He also entered the Wonders of Physics video contest and won in the category of physics of motion.
Arnav will enter the STEM program at South River High School next year. In the meantime he continues to pursue other interests other than making prize-winning videos.” Outside of this I play tennis. I have a keen interest in computer science. I have made many web projects and have presented them at the University of Maryland,” says Arnav. “I hope to continue learning and advance my knowledge in order to make meaningful change and help the society at large.”
“Communicating a persuasive message in just one minute about one of the many challenges for our crowded world takes real skill,” said John Seager, president of Population Connection. “The winning students go a step further and offer inventive ideas for a sustainable future.”
The contest was organized and promoted during the 2021-2022 school year by Population Education, a program of Population Connection. A panel of 60 judges—including college and high-school educators, filmmakers and topic experts—selected the winners.
See Arnav’s video: worldof7billion.org/video_winners/urban-sprawl-a-challenge/