Ok so basically, the Earth’s got a few problems. Plane rides, car journeys, plastic packaging, the lives we live now are littered (if you pardon the pun) with day-to-day routines that damage the environment. And it’s difficult to feel you can do something about it as pollution and waste seem almost impossible to avoid. Modern life was not built with “low impact” in mind.
Even though reducing the negative impact we are having on the environment features in several of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (the UN’s goals to make the world a better place, which tackle the biggest problems facing humanity), loads of people refuse to admit it’s a major problem, and place it LOW in their priorities.
Donald Trump’s views on global warming, for example, are kinda worrying as he has called it a “big scam” on TV and Tweeted that it was a concept created by the Chinese (IKR, true story).
But though sometimes it may seem like we are going backwards, we have faith, and that’s because young people care about the planet and young people are the future. More young people watched David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II than X Factor last year, although it was probs David’s dulcet tones that drew us in initially (dreamy).
If that’s not enough to convince you that things will change for the better, THESE young people are among those that are coming up with amazing and innovative ideas to save the world. (WARNING: they might make you feel like you’ve done nothing worthwhile in life).
Konstantin’s pioneering inventions have received acclaim both back home in Russia and in California. He studied both mechanical engineering and computer science at university (easy) and has gone on to try and help solve all the world’s problems (as you do).
Not only did he create what is now the biggest electronics-recycling centre in Moscow while living in Russia, but in California he figured out how to turn thin air into water to help countries who suffer from drought.
How did that come about? Well he went abroad to a third world country for an engineering project and when one day he saw a thirsty child who was in dire need, he gave her his water. When he returned home he couldn’t stop thinking about it. He was thinking about it while drinking an ice tea when he noticed the condensation appear on his glass and had a brainwave – the solution to water inaccessibility was all around, in the air.
His invention was a solar-powered fan that sucked air into the ground, cooled it and condensed it into drinkable H2O. So much science wisdom. And if this is the sort of thing he’s coming up with in his late teens, who knows what he could do in the future!
ann (andini) makosinski
Award-winning Canadian inventor Ann Makosinski, who has showcased her inventions a couple of times on none other than The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, is a 19-year-old who knows no boundaries. Ann wasn’t given many toys as a child meaning that from a very early age she was forced to make things to entertain herself instead… and, basically, a creative genius was born.
Later on at school when Ann’s friend in the Philippines told her she failed her grade due to not being able to afford electricity (so she couldn’t read her books after dark), Ann’s inventor-brain started ticking again and she made a flashlight powered just by the heat of a hand… so, like, all you have to do is hold it. It was named the Hollow Flashlight, and she aimed to bring it to developing countries to be used in emergency packs.
Ann also invented the eDrink, a cup that actually charges your phone using only the access heat from your coffee while it’s too hot to drink. It’s sustainable, uses natural energy, and it’s just so goddamn useful.
And not only is Ann herself a genius, but she’s encouraging others to be inventive and challenge themselves too. “Just because you’re in college, or a University student, that does not mean you’re the only thing you are,” she pointed out, speaking on TEDxTeen.
This one is hard to get your head around. After graduating university with an Environmental Studies degree in New York, Lauren decided she needed to start practicing what she preached. While she was passionate about reducing waste and protecting the planet, she realised that she was still buying supermarket products that all used plastic packaging, buying and throwing out heaps of clothes and generally generating loads of waste.
So, she decided to cut it out… ALL of it. How does she buy products without creating plastic waste when most things you need to buy in life are covered in plastic? Simple, Lauren MAKES ALL HER OWN PRODUCTS.
Toothpaste, shampoo, you name it, anything Lauren needed she would go home and learn how to make herself online. Her clothes are from second hand shops, she buys market food, and she LEGIT lives without throwing anything away. Well, in three years she had a very small box full of waste, but come on. It’s incred.
Although Lauren is more committed and dedicated to reducing her waste than almost anyone, she doesn’t lecture others if they don’t go completely zero waste. She recommends changing small every day habits – like carrying a fold up material bag with you so you don’t need to use plastic ones whenever you go shopping. Because the small every day things add up to make a big difference.
Yaas Queen. Check out her blog if you wanna know more about that zero waste lifestyle.