$10,000 winner

School: Yale University

Year: Sophomore

Major: Environmental Studies 

“One of the key reasons I decided to major in environmental studies at Yale is because this will give me the scientific and technical know-how, along with the political and economic background, needed to understand and use environmental laws and regulations to their fullest effect to rein in factory farms.

…If better laws force factory farms to stop polluting, or to pay the true cost of their pollution, not only will there be less pollution, but factory farms will be less profitable so their numbers will dwindle significantly. If better laws prevent factory farms from using antibiotics to promote growth and allow their animals to survive in filthy conditions (factory farms use eight times as many pounds of antibiotics as are prescribed to humans in US, leading a to a serious reduction in their effectiveness), factory farms would cease to exist. They cannot survive without these props. Finally, if better laws eliminated the generous government subsidies that sustain factory farms, so that factory farms had to compete on a level playing field with humane and sustainable farming operations, it would be a whole new economic ball game for our country’s best food producers. Humane and sustainable farmers would find it far easier to prosper, grow, and multiply, and this would be a long way toward cultivating a happier and healthier world.”