ENVIRONMENT • BY KIRSTY GROFF
One week from today, one Takoma Park resident may discover she has won the opportunity to travel to Rio de Janeiro to cover World Environment Day 2012.
The United Nations Environment Programme and TreeHugger, a Discovery Communications sustainability news site, have partnered for the Rio+20 Big Blog Off to give one environmental blogger a fully paid round trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to become the official World Environment Day 2012 Green Blogger – and Takoma Park’s own Maggie Comstock currently holds the third-place position out of 10 finalists.
Comstock has worked for the U.S. Green Building Council on and off since 2009, and currently acts as a policy analyst for federal and international green building policy, which energy efficiency, green jobs and climate change.
“I’m very involved with the Rio+20 Conference as part of my job, and I do blog,” Comstock said, “so when I heard about the competition I thought it was a great opportunity to possibly be able to attend and be more engaged in the process, especially since I’ve been working on it for months.”
The host for this year’s World Environment Day is Brazil; the country also hosted holiday celebrations in 1992. Rio+20, also known as the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, is named for the 20 years that have passed since the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.
For this year’s conference, UNEP and TreeHugger collaborated on a contest to give one environmental blogger the chance to travel to Brazil to cover World Environment Day. The initial entry topic was the green economy, this year’s overall theme. A jury picked 10 finalists out of 150 entries to continue in the contest by blogging about two additional prompts.
The first topic, “If You Ruled the World? – Action Plans for a Sustainable Century,” gave the potential bloggers a chance to describe how they would sustainably lead the world. “It’s something you ask and expect an outlandish answer,” said Comstock. “I’m a little bit too practical for that, so I wanted to make it more practical and something that could possibly be delivered as part of the Rio+20 conference.”
The finalists’ second blog entries appeared April 16, with a theme addressing how to mobilize the masses. “The best way is to get the public involved and make sure leaders are paying attention, and that’s why I took the angles of noting that cities are making a big difference, the act of people to post on Twitter and Facebook, things like that,” Comstock said.
Comstock currently does most of her environmental blogging through her job at the U.S. Green Building Council. She also writes for the World Bank sustainable cities blog.
Readers can vote on their favorite blog entries to determine which finalist will win the chance to cover World Environment Day 2012. At the time of publication, Comstock is in third place, with 1,087 votes; while her fourth-place competition is almost 900 points below her, she is 400 points shy of first-place finalist Scott Bartlett and slightly more than 250 points behind second-place blogger Kyle Empringham.
Voting ends April 30 11:59 p.m. GMT. Comstock’s entries can be found below.
Entry #1: I Don’t Need to Rule, But Our Leaders Do