Prompt for the Planet

The first-ever Youth Poet Laureate of the United States of America, Amanda Gorman, creates a prompt for her generation.


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The Prompt

While challenges confront every emerging generation, for young people today, the stakes have never been higher: climate change, the destruction of natural resources, food and water insecurity, widespread extinctions and loss of biodiversity, large-scale conflict and wars, artificial intelligence, nuclear security, biosecurity, a lack of economic opportunity, and much more.  Of course, the injustice is that those who are inheriting this dire situation are not the ones who created it.  But they may be our last chance to get it right!

To understand what’s worth fighting for, we must break our mind-set.  We are still doing most things in ways that imagine limited population and unlimited natural resources.  

To do this, Amanda Gorman is asking young adults around the world to think of one element and speak in its voice through pictures and words.   

What would the fires raging in California say to the world?

What would the wind from Hurricane Maria demolishing Puerto Rico sound like?

What does freshly fallen rain on a state in drought feel and taste like through poetry? Love? Relief?

Think of it as creating an open letter from the planet.

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There is power in a united voice, and we invite you to share your answers and join the movement.

Here’s how to get involved


  • Respond to Amanda’s prompt.  We encourage you to be as reflective and creative as possible, (e.g., produce a drawing or photograph, write a poem or short story, create a short video, or any other form of artistic expression to represent your answer).  While anyone can participate, the initiative’s focus is on young people 15 – 25 years old.
  • Submit your answer — and if available, an accompanying image, video, or other media — to: Please include your name, email address, hometown, and age. 
  • Watch as your answer is added to the online gallery at 

Can this unique look into the hearts and minds of young people around the world inspire all of us to work together toward a sustainable existence? It must.  

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Called the 'next great figure of poetry in the US', at 19-years-old Amanda Gorman is a published author and the first ever Youth Poet Laureate of the United States of America.  Her first poetry book, "The One For Whom Food Is Not Enough", was published in 2015 by Pemanship Books.  A Harvard sophomore, she has worked as a U. N. Youth Delegate at the UN Headquarters in New York City, a HERlead Fellow in training with girl leaders in D.C. and London, and an Ambassador for the feminist platform School of Doodle.  She has been published in The Huffington Post,, and award-winning anthologies.  At 16 she founded the community project One Pen One Page, which promotes literacy and youth activism.


Prompt for the Planet Workshops

Shannon Nolan is a fourth year Engaged Social Innovation (ESI) major at the University of Iowa. For her ESI capstone project, she is creating workshops around Prompt for the Planet targeting students aged 15-25. The workshop walks students through a conversation about what they view to be the biggest challenges the world faces every day. Students are asked to thoughtfully craft responses to the prompt utilizing themes such as sustainability, community, empathy, and personal passion. This project is a culmination of Shannon's work in education, art, media, and storytelling.  Please contact Prompt for the Planet for information on how to create your own workshop.



The Green Room is a University of Iowa initiative that opens its doors and “invites the city to school.”  How does a community become smarter, and then utilize that knowledge to not only improve one’s own life, but the most vulnerable among us?


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