How Youth Are Changing the Face of STEM and The World
Do you dream of changing the world? All around kids are finding innovative ways to change the course of science, technology, engineering, and math. Students are inventing new technologies that save lives, restore the environment, build connections, and so much more. The best part? You could be one of them.
April 2021 marks the 51st anniversary of Earth Day, an international event celebrated around the world that focuses on environmental protection. On the first Earth Day in 1970, twenty million Americans celebrated Earth Day, and today an estimated one billion people participate in the festivities every year.
The theme for 2021– Restore the Earth– is a particularly important one as communities around the world begin to experience environmental struggles more frequently. The global effort to restore Earth to its natural beauty also means creating environmental equity, so that people in all communities can have access to clean and usable resources. This year Learning Undefeated is recognizing those who have taken on the mantle of climate action; a generation of students looking to change the future.
TIME’s first ever Kid of the Year, Gitanjali Rao, is a leading researcher and inventor who found notoriety when she developed a device to detect lead in water after hearing of Flint, Michigan’s drinking water crisis. She was 13 at the time.
Ana Humphrey has been recognized by the North American Association for Environmental Education as a leader in environmental protection. Ana created the Watershed Warriors Initiative that focuses on educating and executing action for wetlands restoration. She was in 8th grade when she started it.
Sean Russell created the Stow It-Don’t Throw It Project that focuses on combatting the negative impact of marine debris on marine wildlife. Russell teaches fisherman the importance of proper line disposal by repurposing tennis ball containers into fishing line recycling bins. He was 16 when he created the organization.
The list goes on… Youth are the driving forces of action for our future. Whether it’s a small contribution or a big dream, you as a student have the ability to instill a change that impacts the world for generations to come. Our goal at Learning Undefeated is to empower students with the knowledge and ability they need to imagine their own success. That’s why we’re dedicating this month to the youth of today working for the better of tomorrow.
Wondering how you can help? Want to start today?
This year’s Earth Day theme is “Restoring the Earth”, and one of the ways that we can contribute is by practicing sustainability. There are several ways to begin practicing sustainability; to help you figure out the most simple and cost-effective ways to incorporate sustainability into your everyday life, we’ve compiled a list of practices you can try.
- Clothes from many large retail stores can be cheaply made, and the conditions in which they are made are detrimental to the environment. The fashion industry is reported to be the second largest consumer of water with 700 gallons to make one cotton t shirt, and 2000 gallons to make one pair of jeans. If you can, find ways to support sustainable businesses that minimize their carbon footprint, but sometimes they can be pricey. For more cost-effective options:
- Try thrifting or secondhand shops! If you really love the styles of some of the fast fashion brands, secondhand shops are the place for you. They often have trendy clothes , and items are usually much cheaper.
- Try repurposing some of your old clothes. There are so many ways you can re-use clothing, whether you’ve outgrown it, or it’s gone out of style! You can use them for different purposes, like making t-shirts into blankets or pillowcases. You could even find ways to make them into new clothing pieces through DIY efforts!
- BONUS – For Spring Cleaning instead of throwing away clothes that you don’t want, try to donate them to a local thrift shop!
Reuse Single Use Plastic Bags
- Single use plastic bags are a large contributor to our everyday waste, but it can be hard to avoid using them at the store. Since we’re stuck with them, here are some ways that you can reuse them!
- Pet Waste – If you have a pet, you can use it to do one of the less pleasant pet tasks. Instead of buying new bags at the store for your dog waste, just use the ones you got from the store. Just make sure there are no holes in the bottom!
- Line Trash Cans
- This is probably the easiest way to reuse your plastic bag. Its perfect for smaller trash cans in the bathroom, or even in the bedrooms. When it’s time to throw it out disposal is much easier, and you just grab the bag by the handles.
- Use Them to Protect Valuables
- Sometimes we don’t think to save the bubble wrap for the next time we need it, but these make a great substitution. You can wrap your glassware in layers of them to protect from breaking, or even just to keep your valuables safe in the attic.
- When you’re frying delicious French fries, or making breaded chicken using all of that oil can feel pretty wasteful. A common practice is saving the oil to be thrown away at a later time, but have you considered actually reusing the oil? Using older oil can sometimes add a little bit of flavor to your food. It’s not too healthy, so make sure you only do it occasionally!
Unplug Kitchen Appliances
- This one is great for the electric bill. Did you know that even when you are not using your kitchen appliances, they’re still using electricity? Unplugging things like your microwave or toaster reduces your carbon footprint while actively saving money.
- Same goes for turning off the lights when you leave a room!
Challenge Yourself to a No-Tech Hour Once a Week
- The COVID-19 pandemic has us all online 24/7, whether it be for school, work, or even just free time. Challenging yourself and your kids to take a break from tech devices and read or go to the park can actually do wonders for your carbon footprint!