Esther Li, an accomplished young writer (age 10) was the runner up winner to SPA’s “8 Billion Day Writer’s Competition.”
In the lead up to the 15th November 2022, the date the UN estimated the global population would reach 8 billion, Australian residents were invited to submit responses to the following question for their chance to win a $100 gift card ($50 runner up).
“In 100 words or less, say what 8 billion people means for the planet, the environment and for you.”
Esther’s runner up winning entry was a poem:
“Eight billion people on our planet means:
Eight billion hungry souls we need to feed,
Eight billion producers of carbon greed,
Eight billion people who need a place to live,
Eight billion educations we should try to give,
Eight billion people who must go from place to place,
Eight billion contenders for nature’s limited space,
Eight billion creators of plastic debris,
Eight billion polluters of the air and sea.
Eight billion people is just way too many,
Numbers wise humanity already has plenty.”
The judges were very impressed by strong insightful writing from a young writer. Esther, who lives in New South Wales, kindly offered to speak with SPA further on her love of reading and writing as well as her perspectives on the issue of overpopulation.
SPA: Esther, tell us a little more about yourself, your love of writing and some of your past writing achievements.
My name is Esther Li, and I am ten years old. I have been an avid reader ever since I could remember because I love immersing myself in fantastical realms while also learning profound messages in the process. I also have a passion for writing both short stories and poems. I enjoy writing because I can express my emotions and portray vivid scenes within my own imagination for others to experience. Recently I self published two books on Amazon, a novel and a poetry anthology. I have also previously won 1st place in the W.J. Kite short story competition, as well as highly commended for the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Competition and the Shepton Snowdrops Poetry Competition.
SPA: How did you hear about SPA’s writer’s competition and what was it about the question or the theme of 8 billion that made you want to enter?
I first heard about the SPA’s writer competition through a notification in my email from W.J.Kite. After winning the competition last year, I have regularly received emails from him with information about upcoming competitions and ways to continue improving my writing. I was very interested in the theme of 8 billion because I really love nature and appreciating its beauty is a theme in a lot of the poetry I write. The prospect of overpopulation destroying our environment and the beauty of nature is an issue I really care about and is hence why I was inspired to enter this competition.
SPA: Is overpopulation an issue that you have thought much about before this competition?
Overpopulation was an issue I had heard about before this competition, but didn’t give that much thought to. I was mainly concerned about environmental issues such as climate change and deforestation, without realising their direct link to overpopulation. However, this competition made me think about how overpopulation directly exacerbates things such as climate change, deforestation and the emission of greenhouse gases, because with more people we will need more resources.
SPA: Almost half of the entries to our competition came from school aged students such as yourself. Is population an issue that is shared or talked about among young people? Is it difficult for young people to discuss openly as it is for older generations?
Overpopulation is an issue that is increasingly talked about among young people, mostly because it’s a very real and looming threat for us. Whereas it was a distant issue for older generations, for us overpopulation and its implications for the environment is a problem we will soon need to address. As we see the number of people in the world rise and rise and rise, we know it comes with the loss of habitats, wildlife, increased population, and rising sea levels. Therefore it’s not difficult for us to discuss openly, but rather something we talk about often and should talk about even more.
SPA: What are your other environmental interests or passions when you’re not writing?
I am very passionate about the preservation of habitats and wildlife, as I think the diversity of the natural world is so interesting and beautiful. I am also interested in ways we can preserve and clean up the environment, such as by reducing waste and actively removing harmful materials such as plastic.
A link to Esther’s Poetry Mosaic ebook can be found here.
A link to her book “Alice & the Japanese Gem Heist” can be found here.
All shortlisted entries to the 8 billion writers competition can be read here