Greta Thunberg could certainly take a leaf from the book of Boyan Slat. The Dutch inventor, entrepreneur and aerospace engineering student, who dropped out and is now the CEO of The Ocean Cleanup.
At the ripe old age of 16, Boyan encountered more plastic than fish while while on a diving holiday in Greece. Devoting a high school project to the problem, he determined that trash accumulates in five majour ocean garbage patches, the largest one being the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located between Hawaii and California. He came up with the idea to build a passive system, using the naturally circulating ocean currents to his advantage, and presented his findings at a TEDx talk in Delft in 2012.
Slat dropped out of aerospace engineering, to devote his time to developing his idea and founded The Ocean Cleanup in 2013. Soon after, his TEDx talk went viral after being shared on numerous news sites. Boyan wrote in The Economist "Technology is the most potent agent of change. It is an amplifier of our human capabilities. Whereas other change-agents rely on reshuffling the existing building blocks of society, technological innovation creates entirely new ones, expanding our problem-solving toolbox."
Now, we all have a view on Greta Thunberg, the activist, child and her stance on climate change. But is she REALLY making a difference? Many communities are still arguing following the Global Strike 4 Climate protests held across the world and the viral posts that were later proven to be untrue. But the transport congestion and disruptions to business were very real and certainly not a reduction in any way.
Boyan Slat has been awarded numerous accolades many of us have not heard about, including;
Champions of the Earth, United Nations Environment Programme in November 2014
Young Entrepreneur Award, from HM King Harald of Norway, in 2015.
Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2016
Thiel Fellow, gives $100,000 to entrepreneurs 22 years old or younger who have left or postponed college to work on their start-up.
Reader's Digest, European of the Year In February 2017
Elsevier, Dutchman of the Year 2017
Euronews award "European Entrepreneur of the Year"
Recently the Swedish 16-year-old Greta collected another prestigious award, Sweden’s alternative Nobel Prize, the Right Livelihood Award for her work, or should we say TALK on climate activism. Greta has been recognised “for inspiring and amplifying political demands for urgent climate action reflecting scientific facts”. Really?
BUT, just in case you missed it; sharing the award with Greta are;
Davi Kopenawa, an inspiring Brazilian indigenous leader fighting to protect the Amazon rain-forest.
Guo Jianmei, a Chinese women’s rights lawyer who founded China’s first legal aid clinic, The Center for Women’s Law Studies and Legal Services of Peking University.
Aminatou Haidar, leader of Defenders of the Sahrawi Human Rights (CODESA), a group committed to advocating for the rights of Sahrawi people through nonviolent means.
For each of the fellow fighters, the award and its accompanying million Swedish krona is very well deserved, however they might have been better off with separate, individual announcements on different days for each. Such is the dominance of Greta’s narrative leading up to the UN General Assembly in New York, no one else really had a chance to be noticed when mentioned in the same conversation.
SUPPORT THOSE THAT DO!
Young Australians and those World wide could certainly be more active in their actions rather than words, by reducing their own environmental footprint. Stop being so wasteful, reliant on transport and electronic devices - shop less and recycle more. Being aware of the products you buy, not replacing them so frequently and basically reducing your own impact rather than demanding the government continue to clean up the mess we each make on a daily basis. Stop talking and start doing!
Seabin - Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski, are avid water lovers who created the “Seabin” that would collect trash, including oil, fuel and detergents. There are now 720 Seabins across the globe with a daily capture of 2,804.1 kg and to date 235,690 kg - Now that's DOING! The capabilities of this awesome project is huge, and it's not just about plastics.
Tangaroa Blue Foundation is an Australia-wide not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the removal and prevention of marine debris, now a majour world wide environmental issue.
The brainchild of Heidi Taylor (another Aussie), Tangaroa Blue created Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI), an on-ground network of volunteers, communities and organisations that contribute data to the AMDI Database, to then work on solutions to stop the flow of litter at the source. The AMDI also helps communities look after their coastal environment, provides resources and support programs, and collaborates with industry and government to create change on a large scale.
Their EVENTS CALENDAR means you can get right in and help as well!
Tangaroa Blue also joined with Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), a foundation that brings an army of hands-on volunteers and its vast collection database to remove and reduce lost and abandoned fishing gear. Ghost gear kills hundreds of thousands of animals each year, but it doesn't have to!
Project Aware works with scuba divers across the globe to protect underwater environments. With a Global Force of Divers, their site is live counting , with current figures of;
207,885 CONSERVATION ACTIONS
1,493,381 DEBRIS ITEMS REMOVED
Now on an individual level, we can all TAKE ACTION instead of TALKING ABOUT IT.
And so many more amazing initiatives. Let's give them the help they need to get the word out about how to help resolve the problems instead of standing on a soap box talking about it!
If you can't exclude plastics from your life completely, you can reduce them significantly!
We all have a role to play so let's stop blaming and start DOING!