Meet the Coolest 19-Year Old Ever—He’s Cleaning Up Your Trash

Solving the Great Pacific garbage patch problem

“Human history is basically a list of things that couldn’t be done, and then were done.”

So begins 19-year-old Boyan Slat’s website about his project: The Ocean Cleanup. The wunderkind is combining environmentalism, entrepreneurism, and technology to tackle the global issue of plastic bag trash. He presented at a TEDx conference in 2012, and has since presented (just on June 3, 2014) a 530-page feasibility study report (authored by 70 people), which indicated the concept is indeed a feasible method to clean almost half the plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in just 10 years.

His big idea? Passive collection:

Why move through the oceans, if the oceans can move through you? Attaching an array of floating barriers and platforms to the sea bed enables us to concentrate the plastic before extracting it from the ocean —a collection process 100% driven by the natural winds and currents. 

With a nod to the notion of prevention and the reality of existing trash, the plan is multiple-phase. Click here for more details.

Is there a simple solution to a complex problem in your life? Can you solve an existing problem while preparing to prevent a future one? Is there a passive solution? The inspiration of this young guy isn’t the actual solution—though it’s incredible—it’s the relative ease of the production. You can replicate that in your own life.

Of course, you can help fund The Ocean Cleanup here.

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