Nine-year-old Jingmin Wang says she's on a mission. After watching zebras, giraffes and elephants in Kenya's wildlife reserves, she's been inspired to return to China and tell 'all her friends and family' to do more to protect the environment.
Wang Jingmin is one of twenty winners of this year's Chinese Children's Painting Competition organised by the Luo Hong Environmental Foundation and supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Today, the twenty finalists took part in an awards ceremony at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, and later followed in the footsteps of many world dignitaries by planting trees at the United Nations complex.
The painting contest - now in its third year - is organised by UNEP Climate Hero Luo Hong; a well-known entrepreneur and wildlife photographer in China. The theme of this year's contest was 'Biodiversity in Action', and a record 2.6 million children from across China took part. During a week-long trip to Kenya sponsored by Mr. Luo, the twenty winners and their teachers travelled to the rich wildlife habitats of the Maasai Mara and Lake Nakuru to witness biodiversity in action.
At today's awards ceremony in Nairobi, the young artists received certificates for their paintings - all of which will go through to the UNEP International Children's Painting Competition on the Environment. The winner of that award will be announced on 12 August 2010.
The winning entries from the Chinese contest - which include tigers lamenting on the fur trade, monkeys suffering the results of deforestation and giraffes gasping for air in a smog-filled city - were also displayed on social networking sites such as Facebook, Flickr and Renren. The pictures were shared by thousands and inspired many enthusiastic comments. 'Looking at the suffocating smoke the child from Beijing drew, I feel like I am going to be smothered as well. There is endless imagination and ideas, which extend into the wide blue sky', wrote one Chinese internet user.