Will Teenagers Save the World?

by Christine Sine

Science in Action Winner for 2013: Elif Bilgin

While sitting in the dentist’s office yesterday I read this wonderful article about a young teen in Istanbul who has developed plastic from banana peels. As a result she won the Scientific American 2013 Science in Action Award

Bilgin spent two years developing a robust bioplastic from discarded banana peels, enduring 10 failed trials along the way. As she noted in her project description: “Even Thomas Edison said, ‘I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’” Bilgin hopes that her material will someday supplant some petroleum-based plastics. Read the entire article.

The winning project in 2012 was the Unique Simplified Hydroponic Method, developed by 14-year-old Sakhiwe Shongwe and Bonkhe Malalela of Swaziland.

For more inspiration, check out last year’s amazing 13 finalists for the Science in Action award and this year’s fifteen finalists. I particularly loved:

Simultaneous Biopesticide Wastewater Treatment and Bioelectricity Generation in Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) – by a 13 year old in India and  Electricity From Traffic by a 16 year old also in India. These ideas really could save the world.

The amazing creativity and out of the box thinking that has gone into these inventions really impressed me. While so much of the world is saying “We can’t live without petroleum products” or “we can’t feed the world without GMO crops” young people are going ahead and inventing new options. Maybe its because they expect to live in a petroleum free world, maybe it is because they are encouraged to be creative, maybe it is just God stirring new possibilities in minds that are open to change. I don’t know but I do praise God for it.

I would love to hear from others who have seen creative and inventive

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Lisa October 3, 2013 - 9:42 am

These are indeed wonderful inventions! Unfortunately, the people who are getting rich off oil – and other items that are ruining the planet – will never allow these inventions to get anywhere on a large scale. Yes, I’m a cynic. The super-wealthy control everything in order to protect their own wealth.

Christine Sine October 3, 2013 - 10:10 am

Lisa I know that is a high possibility but sooner or later things will need to change

Lisa October 3, 2013 - 2:01 pm

I definitely agree! Either things are going to change, or the earth will be destroyed by greed.

Christine Sine October 3, 2013 - 2:59 pm

And that is a horrible thought. If only Christians would accept their responsibility for God’s good earth

Lisa October 3, 2013 - 3:06 pm

Indeed. A good message for tomorrow’s Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

Christine Sine October 3, 2013 - 3:28 pm


Joel Daniel Harris October 6, 2013 - 12:35 pm

Thanks for this post, Christine. I run a non-profit called TomTod Ideas that empowers middle school students to launch absurd ideas that enhance the common good. I love it when I see stories like these about young people and see other folks like yourself that bring their stories to the forefront. Young people can & are doing amazing things, if all of us adults will be open to their ideas and imaginations!

Christine Sine October 6, 2013 - 5:38 pm

Joel your welcome and i am glad this was an encouragement to you

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