Inspiring Youth and Their Eco-Innovations

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    If you take a look around, you might be amazed at what today’s youth can accomplish. Their innovative minds are creating products and ideas that are changing the world they live in. For this month’s theme, Sustainability and the Next Generation of Innovators, take a minute to find some inspiration from green kids who are inventing ways to help their community and even the world!

     

    Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad Turns Plastic Waste Into Biofuel

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    In Egypt, 16-year-old Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad discovered that an inexpensive catalyst could be used to make money from recycled plastic while also solving a major waste problem. She says that she has found a high-yield catalyst called aluminosilicate, that will break down plastic waste and also produce gaseous products like methane, propane and ethane, which can then be converted into ethanol.

    Boyan Slat Finds a Way To Remove Garbage From Oceans

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    Boyan Slat, a 19 year old student in the Netherlands, came up with the concept of the Ocean Cleanup Array. This invention combines long floating booms with processing platforms, which can collect and separate trash. By fitting a network of booms around garbage patches, it is estimated that all garbage from the world’s oceans could be removed in just 5 years.

    Max Wallack Turns Trash to Treasure with the Home Dome

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    PBS Kids’ Design Squad found a winner in Max Wallack, then 12, when he invented the “Home Dome” for its Trash to Treasure competition. Composed of plastic bags filled with Styrofoam packing peanuts, the yurt-shaped structure was designed to offer temporary shelter for homeless people and disaster victims, while relieving landfills of non-biodegradable waste.

    Elizabeth Rintels Invents a Way to Monitor Water Usage

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    When she was just 12 years old, Virginia student Elizabeth Rintels won the grand prize in the By Kids For Kids “Going Green Challenge” with a smart device that measures and monitors water use in the shower. Rintel’s gadget, which can be attached to any faucet, lights up and beeps with every half-gallon of water that is used.

    Nikita Rafikov Creates a More Efficient Window

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    11-year-old Georgia student Nikita Rafikov developed a way to embed GFP, or green florescent protein, into windows to create efficient glass and lighting. GFP is the protein found in certain jellyfish that creates bioluminescence effects seen in nature photography. By embedding this protein into windows, Nikita has found a way to light homes without the use of electricity.

     

    Today’s sustainability challenges require innovation and creativity. In what ways do you teach and encourage youth to be innovative? Share your ideas below.