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February 2024

Liberal Arts Competition

Despite the size of the business, all businesses are responsible for ensuring the health of the planet Earth and conserving it for future generations. Businesses play key role in generation of products in society. As such, they must be mindful of their action and its consequences. 

 

64% of consumer reports that they are 'very/extremely concerned' by environmental sustainability (Gardner, 2024); showing importance of sustainability awareness in industry. In 2024, HNP Ontario focused on sustainable solution of three industries: Businesses, Medical, and Engineering/Architecture. This competition was designed to utilize creativity in oder to raise awareness to the urgency of environmental issues in different industries! Scroll this page to appreciate the all winners' hard working products! 

 

For future competitions we will be accepting all sorts of medium including visual art, animation, essay, report, video, story telling and music. Please check out the 2022 Liberal Arts Competition!

Visual Art Grand Award Winner

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Empowering Earth: Sustainable Cities in the Palm of Our Hands by Dev Katyal

“This artwork symbolizes the concept of sustainable and renewable energy in urban environments. The hands cradling the Earth represent humanity's responsibility and ability to protect and nurture our planet. The urban cityscape depicted on the Earth's surface represents human civilization, highlighting the integration of renewable energy sources such as wind turbines and solar panels into modern city infrastructure.

 

The inclusion of wind turbines and solar panels within the urban landscape emphasizes the shift towards sustainable energy practices. These technologies not only reduce reliance on fossil fuels but also contribute to mitigating climate change and promoting environmental sustainability. As of 2021, solar energy accounted for approximately 4.9% of total electricity generation globally and wind energy accounted for approximately 4.2% of total electricity generation."

Visual Art Creativity Mention

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As urbanization becomes more and more rapid,  urban green landscapes are severely squeezed. My artwork shows the solution to the growing demand on urban green places. My drawing illustrates how flora is integrated into buildings through vertical greening, which maximizes urban green covering while saving space. My drawing also includes sustainable components such as wind and geothermal energy, bicycles, and biophilic design, creating a link between urban and nature elements.  I think that in the context of climate change and technological development, adding green to cities can arouse people's affinity for nature. I believe that symbiosis between cities and nature is the best sustainible solution.

Artwork by Coco

Visual Art Creativity Mention

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“How Fair Trade is Leading to Sustainable Business Practices” by Anonymous

Essay Grand Award Winner

“The True Cost of Fast Fashion” by Jasmine Su

     How often are we lured by the tempting promises of trendy clothing at an unbeatable price? What drives our desire for trendy clothing, even when we know the true cost? Do you find yourself eagerly scrolling through the digital aisles of Shein of H&M? Mahatma Gandhi once warned us that

"There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness." A reminder that in the face of such enticing deals, our moral judgment gets overturned all for the sake of an incredible bargain.

There are three main problems with the fast fashion industry. It destroys our environment, steals the intellectual property of designers, and uses unregulated labor practices.

     To start, fast fashion produces excessive wastage, pollution, and microplastics. it harms the planet that we take our resources from and can negatively impact our health as well. According to Earth.org, fast fashion is the second largest polluter and “accounts for about 10% of global pollution, ranking higher than emissions from air travel and maritime transport combined.” Our love for fashion certainly does come at a heavy price for our planet. Even more astonishing is that fast fashion encourages consumers to overconsume the fast-changing trends of products produced by companies. According to the UN Environment Programme, 20% of global wastewater comes from textile dyeing, and due to the loose regulation of certain countries, this contaminated water will gain access to rivers and lakes, harming civilians. And we discard around 92 million tons of clothe-related waste. Let’s make this easier to imagine, that’s a garbage truck full of clothes either incinerated or sent to the landfill every second! Due to their affordability and durability, nylon and polyester are now widely used in clothing, which makes them a major source of microplastics. Microfilaments from every wash are released into our sewage systems and wind up in our waterways. Annually five hundred thousand tons of toxic pollutants find their way into the ocean. The environmental impacts are detrimental, fast fashion not only manages to harm the environment but also harms human health.

     Leading on to this issue, fast fashion companies are also guilty of stealing intellectual property from artists and designers. Let’s use Shein, a Chinese fast-fashion giant, as an example of unethical

business practices. How did Shein climb so quickly to mass popularity? Well, Kristen Perry, a graphic designer who got her “Make it Fun” poster design stolen by Shein and resold might say that it “has grown rich by committing individual infringements over and over again,” as would many countless small business owners who got their work taken advantage of. Despite this, an egregious amount of teenagers are still lured in with the promise of ultra-low prices, keeping Shein in business.

     Lastly, fast fashion supports unregulated labor practices, exploiting workers and working conditions. The fast fashion industry employs around 75 million factory workers worldwide, and less

than 2% of them make a living wage. Even the European Parliament admits that the conditions of factory workers in Asia are equivalent to “slave labor.” Many garment workers are working up to 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. Not to mention, the textile industry also uses child labor because of the low skill requirements and its cheapness. The fast fashion sector has developed as a result of consumer desire for more items at lower prices. As a result, the workforce that supports the fashion industry is being dangerously exploited to make a greater profit.

     So what can we do to support a circular economy, a system in which materials never become waste and nature is regenerated? As consumers, we hold the power. we can make a difference between right and wrong. Slow fashion is a wonderful alternative, it promotes sustainable fashion, conscious consumerism, and advocating for minimalism. Small businesses and corporations alike can steer towards circular fashion if consumers send a signal to the suppliers. Sustainable fashion is a concept that emphasizes the use of natural materials such as organic cotton, linen, biodegradable fibers, etc... as well as upholds animal welfare. This leads to conscious consumerism, a movement that encourages consumers to buy less, choose higher-quality products, and prioritize social responsibility when shopping. Minimalism is, in turn, a lifestyle movement that is closely linked to the principles of slow fashion and encourages consumers to focus on quality in clothing choices to minimize excessive waste and overconsumption of clothing. Overall, the slow fashion movement is an opposing idea to the fast fashion movement, focusing on benefiting the environment as well as exposing the dark realities of fast fashion.

     It’s undeniable that in our pursuit of the latest trends at low prices, we turn a blind eye to the harsh and unjust practices of fast fashion brands. It’s time we, as consumers, prioritize our planet over fleeting trends for cheap prices. By endorsing circular fashion, we can promote a more sustainable and equitable future for all. After all, what’s the point in having a closet full of clothes that are in reality, really just reminders of our despicable harm towards the planet?

Essay Creativity Mentions

“Navigating the Path to Sustainable Healthcare: Innovations and Challenges” by Adil Mukhi

THANK YOU  TO ALL OF OUR GREAT PARTICIPANTS!

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