Miss Earth competition forgets the earth and focuses on the Missies!

With environmental issues becoming a more well known topic, organizations like Miss Earth promote themselves as taking a positive stance, however are beauty pageants really the answer.

Founder and organizer, Maria James, said Miss Earth is unlike other beauty pageants, as the candidates are well informed ladies from the age of 18 to 26 who have a strong passion for the environment.

“The girls undergo rigorous judging to ensure they will do a good job in representing Australia” Mrs. James said.

"They are beautiful girls trying to make a difference, and this is a great avenue to do so” she said.

Miss Earth has now been running for 5 years in Australia and Maria James only hopes it becomes bigger, better and more well known.

The funding for Miss Earth comes from Maria’s own pockets, so therefore the girls are required to find sponsors that may help them fly to Sydney for the final week, pay for their accommodation and food for the week.

This year there were 17 candidates from across Australia who attended the final week in Sydney.

Melissa Neigbour, was one of those candidates, who is a town planner but spends a lot her time dedicated to Project Survival Pacifica.

“The Miss Earth schedule required me to take a whole week out of my usual life which involves working as an environmental planner with Conics and working with the Project Survival Pacific team” she said.

“I was ready for a full week of press conferences, pageant training and environmental activities” she said.

“However, when the organiser introduced the judges and listed their credentials, it became apparent that none of the judges were involved in the environmental field nor did they have any experience in this area” she said.

“The schedule on the following day was booked in for tree-planting, however this activity was cancelled and instead the day was re-scheduled entirely for make up and hair for the preliminary judging that evening which was open to the public. This wasn’t what I had taken a whole week off work for!” she said.

Melissa was contemplating pulling out of the competition as she did not feel it was at all what it promoted to be.

When a stretched hummer arrived to take the contestants on a city tour, Melissa decided to pull out of the competition.

“At this point the legitimacy of Miss Earth as a pageant for earth-loving participants who will take action to protect the Earth from man-made pollution, really started to fade” she said.

Another candidate, Liana Gray from Alice Springs, runs and operates her own company called I Love Earth.com.

With a huge passion for helping the environment she thought Miss Earth would be a great way to raise awareness of environmental issues.

“It's important to be aware and think what kind of impact your action will have on the environment. Every action has a reaction, and the earth will respond to how we treat it” she said.

It is clear that even the organizers of such a big event Miss Earth Australia can forget this.

“The good news is that we all have choices, and you have a choice whether to ride in a hummer or not, you don't have to follow the others” she said.

Similarly though, Liana felt the competition was a huge let down.

“As a contestant of Miss Earth I felt we had achieved nothing in the way of raising awareness of environmental issues or to help the environment in a tangible way” she said

“I felt like the pageant was focused primarily on beauty and on creating a great ‘show’ for the Saturday night” she said.

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