About a year ago, we introduced you to an inventor who, at age 17, had the most remarkable idea to clean up the overwhelming plastic garbage gyres in our oceans and create the remarkable Ocean Cleanup Project.
There’s big news, just announced, that points to progress beyond anyone’s wildest dreams!
Before we share the breaking news on this remarkable story with you, if you have the time, hop over to our story from last summer so you can fully appreciate the context of the wonders that we are sharing with you today.
Here’s the short course: In 2013, a Dutch teenager, inventor-entrepreneur named Boyan Stat had a brilliant idea and a TEDx Talk that went viral (How the oceans can clean themselves, 2014). All this before he had even attended a university. He had designed a system for catching plastic garbage in the oceans that would be elegantly simple, cost effective, and use the ocean’s currents to passively do the job for us.
Do you know about the enormous zones in our oceans called “gyres” (enormous… bigger than most countries) where all the plastic garbage is collecting? I had no idea.
Again, I have to encourage you to visit our article from last year because the transformative part of this story is learning about the gyres.
Tackling the Problem
Well, this 17-year-old was appalled with what he had learned about these growing gyres, and by 19, he attracted thousands of volunteers to help his project to clean them up. It wasn’t just investors in Silicon Valley who realized the potential in Boyan’s concept. The Ocean Cleanup Project made complete sense and inspired tens of thousands of ordinary folks to give money to a crowdfunding campaign that, by the time Boyan was 22, raised over 2 million US dollars. 1
Here’s Boylan’s recent unveiling of some fabulous news on the design and progress of the project.
This one is “goose bump” material if you care about the future of our planet and the topic of pollution sometimes feels like an enormous weight on your sense of hope.
Here is innovation, common sense, and humble genius all at once! See what you think!
Check out Ocean Cleanup!
Now it’s time to explore a little for yourself because The Ocean Cleanup website is one of the best project websites we’ve ever come across! The Ocean Cleanup Technology page really gives us a concise but expanded understanding of this solution. There are even some great graphics that you can play with! I really encourage you to hop over there and enjoy that page for a few minutes. Take it all in and you’ll walk taller for knowing how genius works!
Also, their interactive page shows us where the main sources of ocean plastics come from, all over the planet. You can scroll into your part of the world and see what’s happening. (There’s a cool little navigation guide in the upper right corner.)
Yes, with this project, we are seeing something that will change the world for all of us!
But here are a few pressing questions:
Why are we not celebrating all this in the mass media, and why can’t the 24-hour news cycle share something like this with as much gusto as they discuss politics and bombings? As you may know, here at the Goodness Exchange we’ve written over 400 articles about insights and innovators making the world a better place, and we almost never hear these stories anywhere else!
Why don’t our children know about the ocean gyres and great concepts like this?
Wouldn’t all aspects of this situation be a fabulous teaching opportunity if studied in our “Earth Science” curriculums? There is so much here to learn about: our oceans, our weather patterns, physics, materials science, engineering, design, and problem-solving.
Maybe it’s time to start looking at our problems as opportunities to make leaps forward in other areas of concern!
One of my favorite moments is when they discover that tethering these enormous floats to the bottom of the ocean was a silly idea all along and that so much more could be accomplished if they just abandoned that notion for something much simpler.
Thanks for stopping by! Now go out in your day and take a pause when you hit your first problem moment. Check your initial assumptions. See if you can formulate a better question than you’ve ever applied to that kind of a problem.
Let us know how it goes! There are real people on the other end of our Contact Us page.
Stay open, curious and optimistic!
~ Dr. Lynda
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- “Crowd Funding Campaign.” The Ocean Cleanup. The Ocean Cleanup, 2014. Web. 10 June 2017. <https://www.theoceancleanup.com/milestones/crowd-funding-campaign/>. ↩
- “Boyan Slat: How We Will Rid the Oceans of Plastic (May 2017).” YouTube. TheOceanCleanup, 14 May 2017. Web. 10 June 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=du5d5PUrH0I>. ↩