There is no one solution to climate change. And, it takes creative thinking and new ways of looking at the world. In recent years, children have contributed some truly innovative and awe-inspiring ideas to improve life for humanity and planet Earth.
What’s remarkable about these young innovators isn’t just their age, but their drive to do something about a problem they only recently became aware of. In this blog, we pay tribute to all the efforts that kids are making to solve climate change challenges. The inventions range from clean energy and energy efficiency solutions to decreasing waste and pollution.
Bioluminescent Windows: Harnessing the genes that allow jellyfish in the wild—and novelty pet goldfish—to glow in the dark, Nikita Rafikov has invented windows that pull off the same trick. All of 11 years old at the time of the invention, Rafikov hopes that the windows will help decrease energy usage in homes and buildings.
Solar Leaves: Wind and solar energy are two of the most promising long-term renewable sources, but making these energies accessible globally has been a challenge. Thirteen-year-old Maanasa Mendu won the won the grand prize in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge last year with her revolutionary “solar leaves.” The solar leaves are sensors that tap into the vibrations that the sun, wind, and rain make, and convert them into usable energy.
Carbon Dioxide Batteries: Fourteen-year-old Sahil Doshi won the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge in2014 by creating a low-cost battery that turns carbon dioxide—one of the main greenhouse gases causing climate change—into electricity. His device, called a PolluCell, could be an inexpensive alternative in developing countries that have limited or inconsistent access to electrical power.
Paper Pollution Detectors: A teenager who developed a groundbreaking early detection test for pancreatic cancer has turned his sights to detecting pollution and contaminants in soil and water systems. Jack Andraka, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, envisions a future where specially developed a filter and a smartphone app can detect the presence and concentrations of harmful compounds in the environment.
Bottle-less Shampoo: Recycling your plastic shampoo, conditioner, and body wash bottles is good, but not having a bottle to worry about in the first place is better. Since only one-third of households and fewer than 10% of businesses recycle, cutting down on using plastic products is a great way to make a difference. Benjamin Stern’s “Nohbo” product is a powdered shampoo ball, individually wrapped in materials that leave zero waste behind.
Wasteless Urban Composter: A team of teenagers in Connecticut is working on cutting down the amount of methane that is emitted by trashcans that are commonly found on city streets. Their dumpster-style composters can be put on street corners, and start a composting process. These “dumpsters” provides an environmentally-friendly way to break down materials like food, paper, cardboard, and more, thus eliminating the development of methane gases.
Wind Energy on a Train: A teenager in India may have managed to find a simple way to gather exponentially more wind energy: mount wind-powered generators on already moving objects. Akash Singh spent nearly two years developing a wind turbine that can be mounted on trains. The Ministry of Railways and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is planning to conduct tests on the feasibility and effectiveness of Singh’s energy generator.
Thinking about these inspired, and inspiring inventors, it’s clear that any one of these inventions could help combat climate change. Collectively, they’re poised to make a big difference in creating a better world.
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