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Green letter days

Climate change is theme of global contest

The Universal Postal Union is using this poster to promote its letter-writing contest for children.

Climate change is the subject of this year’s International Letter Writing Competition, the Universal Postal Union’s annual contest for young people ages 9 to 15.

Participants are asked to “write a letter to an influential person about why and how to take action on climate change.”

The Universal Postal Union, a United Nations agency that facilitates the international exchange of mail, has been holding the competition since 1971, when the theme was “write a letter to a friend.”

The union, also known as UPU, has support material and entry forms on the competition web page in Arabic, English, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish; for entries in other languages, there is open source software to assist.

Each national post chooses its winner and submits it to UPU headquarters in Bern, Switzerland, by May 5.

The top three letters are awarded a gold, silver or bronze medal. The gold-medal winner may also win a trip to UPU headquarters in Bern — “conditions allowing,” according to the union.

Richard Nash of Ireland, who won the contest in 1984, is still a fan.

“What a sublime thing it is,” he is quoted as saying on the flyer, “to have an international competition that is fundamentally about empathy, that both fosters the natural teenage desire for self-expression and infuses it with ethical and moral imagination.”