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'World of 7 Billion' Video Contest Finds Solutions for Our Overcrowded Planet

Population Connection announced the winners of this year's “World of 7 Billion” video contest. Thirteen students from four countries and seven U.S. states earned the top spots in the competition, which encouraged high school students around the world to create and enter videos on population growth relating to one of three topics: universal education, diminishing farmland and the sixth mass extinction.

This was the message of high school students who submitted videos for the "World of 7 Billion" contest.

More than 1,600 high school students participated in the contest and submitted a total of 865 videos. Submissions were received from 39 U.S. states and 23 countries. The three first-place winners each received a $1,000 cash prize, while the three second-place winners each received a $500 cash prize and seven honorable mentions each received a $250 cash prize.

“The ‘World of 7 Billion’ student video contest proves just how powerful youth are to the discussion surrounding population growth,” said John Seager, president of Population Connection. “Each year we are blown away by the quality of videos and their incredible ability to relay a meaningful message in such a short amount of time.”

A panel of 28 judges—including college and high school educators, filmmakers and professionals working on agriculture and sustainability—selected the finalists.

“This year’s videos seemed especially thoughtful given the complexity of topics. And it was exciting to see what solutions the students offered that would impact positive future change,” said Pam Wasserman, vice president for education at Population Connection.

Here is the first place winner for the sixth mass extinction category:

And this is the second place winner for the sixth mass extinction category:

Here's the first place winner for the diminishing farmland category:

And this is the second place winner for the diminishing farmland category:

To see the other finalists' videos, go here.

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"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."

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The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.

Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.

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Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.

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Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.