Whilst many of our older politicians sit stumped by the rising issues of environmental damage and climate change, perhaps its time to pay more attention to the fresh ideas of our creative youth.
Last week we discussed the rotating islands of garbage choking our oceans and marine life. As individuals it’s a depressing thought, many of us try our best to be conscientious more eco-friendly humans but are overwhelmed by the actions of the population at large.
In comes Boyan Slat, a 20 year old Dutch with a big idea. Boyan having experienced first hand the extent of rubbish floating around in European oceans refused to believe that the cause is hopeless. His idea began as a school science project in 2011 winning him the Best Technical Design at Delft University of Technology. The idea was a simple one in essence, to use the currents themselves to collect the floating garbage. Using a system of floating barriers that are anchored to the sea bed the garbage is caught and then moved along the barriers to a platform for extraction and later recycling, allowing marine life to pass safely below the barriers.
Combining his natural skills and interest in engineering Boyan decided to put his university studies on hold to make his idea a reality founding The Ocean Cleanup. After failing to find the corporate support for sponsorship to get his idea off the ground, it was the strength of human interest that made a his video TedX Talk: How the Oceans can Clean Themselves go viral and the volunteers and donations began to flow in. Not disheartened by his academic critics Boyan gathered a team of 100 scientists and volunteers to do the research to prove that his concept would work and produced a 530-page feasibility report to this effect. Boyan plans to conduct a larger scale pilot next year and projects that by 2020 his concept to be focused on the North Atlantic platform will be in effect.
Boyan Slat’s story is an inspiring one for environmentalists and demonstrates the importance of educating ourselves and particularly our children on environmental issues as the future leaders and innovators of our world.
Learn more about The Ocean Cleanup foundation at http://www.theoceancleanup.com/
Check out Boyan Slat’s original Ted talk video that went viral https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROW9F-c0kIQ