Plastic and pollution are wreaking havoc on our oceans, our environment, and our health. Every year:
- 8 million metric tons of plastic waste enter the ocean
- 640,000 tonnes of abandoned fishing gear enters ocean
Couple these daunting stats with the fact that microplastics were found in every sample of seafood purchased from one food market, and the reality becomes clear: something must be done.
The good news is, young innovators are working to heal our oceans, prevent pollution, and clean our water in an effort to protect our environment and combat climate change.
Fostering a love for the ocean is about so much more than enjoying water safely: it’s about inspiring young minds and working together for a better future.
SwimTayka supplements its drowning prevention and swimming lessons with water stewardship education for this very reason. By learning about the importance of water stewardship, SwimTayka helps children discover a lifelong appreciation for the ocean and the environment.
A weeklong program with SwimTayka could be the exact push a young leader needs to study marine biology, invent the next microplastic filter, or lead water stewardship innovations in the future.
Check out these 5 young innovators who are protecting our water across the globe:
Source: Future Space
- Adam Root – reducing and recycling microplastics in the ocean
Adam is working towards one goal: a cleaner ocean for everyone. As a surfer with a passion for the environment, Adam Root started to become interested in ocean plastics and recycling. He founded the company Matter, which is an innovation company based in Bristol, UK.
Matter’s focus is to capture, harvest, and recycle microplastics in the ocean to create a circular economy. The company works in partnership with researchers such as Brunel University London and Swansea University to discover sustainable methods to recycle microfibres from laundry.
“We are striving to solve a global problem. We need to focus on technology and research to apply smart, considered solutions to ocean plastic and marine debris.” – Adam Root
- Gitanjali Rao – Detecting safe drinking water
Gitanjali Rao is a 15-year-old scientist and inventor. After learning about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, she created Tethys, a device to detect lead in water. The sensor detects lead in water and uploads its results to a mobile app.
As TIME’s first-ever Kid of the Year, Gitanjali is an innovator to keep an eye on.
“There are problems that we did not create but that we now have to solve, like climate change and cyberbullying with the introduction of technology. We just need to find that one thing we’re passionate about and solve it.” – Gitanjali Rao
- Valentina Lovat – Increasing ocean literacy
Valentina Lovat is an Ocean Literacy Consultant. She interned at the IOC-UNESCO project office, studied Marine Sciences, and is now studying Management with a focus on Sustainable Business and Innovation. Previously, as a Creative Communications Coordinator for Worldrise in Italy, she promoted the protection of our ocean environment.
When asked where her inspiration in ocean literacy originated, she said it comes from her personal experience with the sea. That’s why SwimTayka is committed to sparking a love for the ocean in children and educating on the environment.
“I hope to educate and empower the next generations on new opportunities such as the circular economy, the potential of algae, the importance of marine conservation and new energy technologies.” – Valentina Lovat
Source: Ocean Impact Organisation
- Annette McClelland – Transforming ocean health
Annette McClelland is no stranger to the ocean. As a qualified PADI Advanced Open Water Diver, she is passionate about marine life and protecting our planet. She is the co-founder of Tekuma and is on a mission to help others to increase the positive impact they can create with technology.
Tekuma helps companies like UnderseaROV control their underwater robots for maritime maintenance and underwater research.
“Over 15 years ago and had the opportunity to explore the Great Barrier Reef as a teenager. I know what I saw then is not as easy to see now and the wonders I experienced are greater at risk. I’ve observed as we’ve learnt more about space than the ocean and I appreciate the impact ocean health has on climate change.” – Annette McClelland
- Emile Theau – preventing pollution
When Emilie Theau discovered most surfing products are environmentally damaging, he knew he had to do something about it. He co-founded Sine Surf to provide sustainable surfboards using wood materials. His products produce “1/12th the amount of plastic waste compared to regular surfboard production.”
“There is a future where we can live in harmony with our surroundings and our oceans and I am determined to work towards it.’ – Emile Theau
Environmental education matters
Environmental education is empowering. We want to educate and spark that same passion for our ocean in the children we work with so we can continue to innovate and be stewards of our water. When children learn about their ability to make a difference, they find inspiration to make a real and lasting difference.
Children who participate in SwimTayka programs learn about more than just water safety. They learn about the ocean and how our rubbish plays a role in the health and sustainability of our waters.