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Children Paint Planet for World Environment Day

The first thing you need to know about 12-year-old Alice Wang is that she loves to draw. Some of her artwork decorates her home in Palo Alto, California where she lives with her parents and 13-year-old brother.

"Usually, I draw flowers and stuff like that," she says.

Wang is the North American award winner in the United Nations Environment Program International Children's Painting Competition, which asked young people between ages 6 and 14 to address the theme "Climate Change: Our Challenge."

Click to see a slideshow of some of the paintings

"I drew a thermometer and three hands. Two of the hands are good and one is bad. The bad one [has] stuff that contributes to global warming, and the other ones are things that prevent it," she explains.

In Wang's winning work, tiny solar panels, sunflowers, wind turbines, polar bears and penguins dance atop the two green hands. In stark contrast, the third hand is a sooty black from polluting fossil fuels emitted from cars and power plants.

"I hope that we can stop using fossil fuels and start using other kinds of energy," Wang says. "It would be cleaner and less polluting."

That message may be especially compelling coming from a 12-year-old girl and 60 other children whose artwork is on display at the Omaha Children's Museum.

"Because if they can see it from children's eyes, then maybe they can see that it's really serious that we really want to stop global warming," Wang says. "If we don't, then our world will become really polluted."

Alice Wang will travel to South Korea in August for the United Nations Environment Program Tunza International Children's Conference. She'll vie among first-prize winners from six global regions for a $2,000 cash prize.

The International Children's Painting Competition has received more than 190,000 entries from children in more than 100 countries since it began in 1991.