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  • 1. INNOVATION IN ACTIONHELPING PEOPLE AND PLANETPUSHING THE ENVELOPELIGHTING THE PATH Go s to 19 on GE e as , PA 0R 12 p 1 in 20 To en e Gr
  • 2. USA About This Issue ©AP Images “I am only a child, yet I know we are all in this together and should act as one single world toward one single goal.” U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Severn Cullis-Suzuki, 12, 1992 Rio Earth Summit VOLUME 16 / NUMBER 7 Published April 2012Coordinator, Dawn L. McCall;Executive Editor, Nicholas S. Namba;Director of Written Content, MichaelJay Friedman; Editorial Director, Mary Courtesy photo/Ashoka’s Youth VentureT. Chunko; Managing Editor, Ashley R.Donahey; Production Chief, MichelleFarrell; Production Manager, JaninePerry; Designer, Dori WalkerThe Bureau of International InformationPrograms of the U.S. Department of Statepublishes eJournal USA. Each issue examinesa major topic facing the United States andthe international community, and informsinternational readers about U.S. society,values, thought, and institutions. Spell it out: Kids use their hands to spell “change” for Youth Venture, a groupEach eJournal is published in English, that helps young people create organizations.followed by electronic versions in French,Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. In 1992, representatives from 172 nations — including 108 heads of stateSelected editions also appear in Arabic, — and more than 24,000 representatives from nongovernmental organiza-Chinese and Persian. Each journal is tions gathered in Rio de Janeiro for the first United Nations Conference oncatalogued by volume and number. Environment and Development, or Rio Earth Summit. Of all the speechesThe opinions expressed in eJournal USA delivered over the course of the 11-day conference, one voice rose above thedo not necessarily reflect the views or rest: that of 12-year-old Severn Suzuki of Canada.policies of the U.S. government. The Now known as “the girl who silenced the world for five minutes,” Suzuki ad-U.S. Department of State assumes dressed delegates from around the world in an impassioned speech entreatingno responsibility for the content andcontinued accessibility of Internet world leaders to protect the Earth and its people. Suzuki urged everyone tosites to which the journals link; such follow the creed of sustainable development: to live and grow in a way thatresponsibility resides solely with the preserves the environment and ensures that future generations will be able topublishers of those sites. Journal articles, enjoy both the Earth’s natural resources and a high standard of living.photographs, and illustrations may be Since Suzuki’s speech, youth activism in the field of sustainable developmentreproduced and translated outside theUnited States unless they carry explicit has continued to grow. More than half the world’s population is currentlycopyright restrictions, in which case younger than 25, with even higher percentages of youth living in developingpermission must be sought from the countries. Millions of young people are making it clear that they do not wantcopyright holders noted in the journal. to inherit or pass on a world threatened by climate change, poverty and illness. Instead, they are using their creativity, energy and persistence to set the world Editor, eJournal USA on a more sustainable path. IIP/CD/WC This issue of eJournal USA explores how young people are leading the way to a U.S. Department of State 2200 C Street, NW cleaner, greener, more sustainable future. From launching their own environ- Washington, DC 20522-0501 mental organizations to developing alternative energy resources, today’s youth USA have what it takes to make the world a better place. E-mail: eJournalUSA@state.gov eJournal USA
  • 3. Growing Up Green U.S. Department of State / april 2012 / Volume 16 / Number 7 2 Youth Today Lead Today Astrid Nicole Ng Youth are leading the way to a sustainable future by creating innovative solutions to global problems. 5 13 Building Windmills by Candlelight INNOVATION IN ACTION Student William Kamkwamba turned discarded metal and plastic into energy-producing wind- mills in Malawi. 14 Noise Goes Electric 5 Sustainable Societies Start Four students at American University at Sharjah with Youth are converting noise into clean, renewable energy.As the world grows older, young people are work-ing to ensure a brighter, greener future for gen-erations to come. 15 LIGHTING THE PATH 8 HELPING PEOPLE AND PLANET 15  Lighting Up Rural Innovation in India 8 From Waste to Warmth Two young entrepreneurs use tractors to help ru-A team of teenagers is turning wasted cooking oil ral students study after dark.into an alternative energy source for needy fami-lies in Rhode Island. 16  eam Belgium: Solar Can T Be Affordable 10  Sharing a Ride Reduces Traffic For university students in Belgium, an ener- and Pollution gy-neutral home can be as affordable as anyYoung entrepreneurs in Mexico encourage com- other house.muters to share rides to save the environment. 18 Cooking Inside the Box 11  Indonesia’s Sahabat Alam, Jon Bøhmer’s Kyoto Box makes a major differ- Protecting the Earth ence for those struggling to use clean energyFifteen-year-old environmental activist Ade- for cooking.line Tiffanie Suwana proves one person canmake a difference. 19 12 Take away PUSHING THE ENVELOPE 19 Top 10 Reasons to Go Green in 2012 Road to Rio+2012  reenShields Clears the Air, G Boosts Education This is the year for young people worldwide to campaign and act on local and global sustainableSixteen-year-old Jonny Cohen is making school development issues.buses more energy- and cost-efficient. Front cover photos: Kendra Helmer and Ben Edwards/USAID (left); ©AP Images/Andre Penner (top right); Courtesy of GreenShields (center); ©Tom Rielly (bottom right) Back cover photo: ©AP Images eJournal USA 1
  • 4. Youth Today Lead Today Attention! Mariana Peneva of European Green Youth demon- strates with an “Earth Protecting Area” sign at the Branden-By Astrid Nicole NgO burg Gate in Berlin, Germany. ne of the most common phrases that I have seen the influence we have on our world firsthand we, as young people, hear growing through my work for the My Community, Our Earth up is “Today’s youth are tomorrow’s (MyCOE) initiative. This program was created in prepa- leaders.” This saying is meant to in- ration for the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable De- spire us and motivate us to be our velopment in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over the past best. It reminds us that the choices decade, more than 500 youth-led, community-based,we make today will eventually impact us, our commu- sustainable development projects have been launched innity and the world. fields such as climate change, green economy, food se-Fortunately, we do not have to wait to see the impact curity and hazards and vulnerability. Our MyCOE teamyouth can have on our world. In fact, I think we should provides youth around the world with information andchange this slogan to “Youth today lead today, and to- tools from the field of geography, and guides them inmorrow, and … well, every day.” creating sustainable solutions for their communities. eJournal USA 2 ©AP Images/Sven Kaestner
  • 5. Sing it loud! A youth chorus greets participants during the opening ceremonies of the 2002 World Sum- mit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa. 500 This program has changed youths’ lives in many ways. Young people networking sites and videoconferenc- ing software. I help these students “idealistic.” We under- Green have received scholarships, been share their personal stories about stand that projects appointed environmental leaders sustainable development — what optimism is launched by kids in their communities, and guided they can do, have done, and are cur- important in the last 10 their governments to take new en- rently doing. I guide them as they when the vironmental preservation measures. work together to confront sustain- problems able development issues, and help we face are How can young people make a dif- them understand what it means to so grim. We years ference? By connecting with each be a global citizen. Although we have the en- other. By overcoming our differ- are all from different countries and ergy to fight for issues that are im- ences. By uniting to create innova- speak different languages, we are portant to us. tive solutions to problems we face facing these global issues together. as global citizens of this planet. To- We are working as a team. The This being said, young people also day, communication technologies world is changing in different ways have challenges to overcome. Some such as mobile phones, mapping in different places. If we understand of us don’t realize the impact that we applications and social-network- how the world is changing in other can have, so we don’t get involved. ing software make global relation- parts of the world, we can learn to We don’t voice our opinions. We ships possible. We can connect solve our own issues at home. think that we are too young to make across borders with the click of a real difference. We are not expe- Youth participation in events like a mouse. Online mapping tools rienced enough to make the con- Rio+20 is crucial because we offer help us visualize our global prob- nection between what we believe is fresh eyes, active minds and open lems more clearly and guide us in “our world” versus “the world.” We hearts. We are not so set in our developing solutions. must bridge these worlds and recog- ways that we shut others out. We Currently, I am working on a My- nize them as one and the same. We are willing to be inspired by what COE virtual exchange program fund- must use the tools available to us to others have to say. We are firm ed by the U.S. Department of State. It about our beliefs, yet we allow for our advantage. connects high school students in Bo- new ideas and opinions to mold us. If I could say one thing to people livia, Ghana, Nicaragua, the Philip- We bring fresh, new ideas that older my age, I would say: we must be pines and the United States via social generations may think of as being present at Rio+20. We must be eJournal USA 3©AP Images/Saurabh Das
  • 6. engaged. We must be aware. We must commit ourselves to tackling these issues head-on. Why? Be- cause we are the leaders of today!Kendra Helmer and Ben Edwards/ USAID As we grow up, we will learn life lessons that will help us be even better leaders tomorrow. But time isn’t on our side. Let’s work to- gether as leaders today, so that we can develop solutions that will help us tomorrow. Let’s make sure we continue working for sustainable development every day. n Starting fresh: A young girl plants a pine seedling in Haiti’s Parc National La Visite. In the last decade, young people have launched more than 500 green projects.©AP Images/The Hawk Eye/John Lovretta Astrid Nicole Ng, 23, is a research as- sistant for the Association of Ameri- can Geographers (AAG), which serves as the Secretariat of the My Community, Our Earth (MyCOE) Pick it up! Young people like 10-year-old Kelsea Gaul are acting partnership program (www.mycoe. to create a cleaner environment. org). Originally from California, Ng currently resides in Panama, where she facilitates online networking and exchanges for several youth-related AAG projects. In her free time, she Courtesy of IIS D/Earth Negotiations Bulletin enjoys dancing, reading and spending time with her friends and family. Visit the MyCOE website for more info! Youth speak out! Kate Offerdahl calls for sustainable chemical http://goo.gl/P2DLC alternatives as a youth representative at the 19th U.N. Commis- sion on Sustainable Development in 2011. The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. government. Return to Table of Contents eJournal USA 4
  • 7. Sustainable Societies Start withReady to ride: Vietnamese studentsbike in the 2009 International Day ofClimate Action parade. Many youngpeople support sustainable devel-opment by advocating for change.©AP Images/Chitose Suzuki eJournal USA 5
  • 8. One young woman in Indone- HELPING PEOPLE, sia, Adeline Tiffanie Suwana, PROTECTING EARTH 15, offers a good example. At Young people are also proving that it age 10, she started her own is possible to help others and preserve environmental organiza- the planet at the same time. A group tion called Sahabat Alam, or of American teenagers launched a “friends of nature” in Indone- program that provides warmth to sian. Five years later, Suwana’s families in need, and also recycles n 2011, the world’s population organization has nearly 2,000 discarded cooking oil in the process.©AP Images /Enid News & Eagle/Billy Hefton exceeded 7 billion. That figure members from across Indonesia. She (See p. 8.) In Mexico, a team of young is expected to rise to 9 billion by has been internationally recognized entrepreneurs launched a ride-sharing the middle of the 21st century. As and honored for her outstanding company because they were inspired more children survive to adult- advocacy efforts. Her work includes by their desire to do something good hood and people live longer, the everything from running an award- for their country. (See p. 10.) Earth’s resources are strained. We are winning website to producing her Youth also understand that sustain- challenged to learn new ways to live so own song and television program. able development is not a luxury, it is that future generations have the same (See p. 11.) In addition to their edu- a necessity. It does not need to come benefits as we do. cation and advocacy work, members with a luxury price tag. An energy en- “Sustainable development” may be the of Sahabat Alam put their words into trepreneur in Kenya developed a solar key to meeting the needs of the pres- action by cleaning up beaches and cooker that enables people in rural ar- ent, without making it more difficult planting coral reefs and mangroves. eas to cook without having to search for future generations to meet their TRAINING FOR A for firewood or produce carbon-laden own needs. Everyone should be able GREENER FUTURE smoke — for only $5. (See p. 18.) to live life to the fullest — to grow One way young people are discover- Belgian university students demon- healthy, wealthy and wise — without ing ways to find sustainable solutions strated that sustainability is not only damaging the environment or tak- is through education. To succeed as affordable, but attractive too. Their ing away anyone’s ability to live well, entrepreneurs and innovators in a sus- award-winning solar energy house is whether now or in the future. tainable society, today’s youth must called the E-Cube. The house shows STRENGTH IN TAKING develop knowledge and skills in areas how energy efficiency can meet elec- ACTION such as science, technology, engineer- trifying design to provide sleek, high- More than half of all people alive ing and mathematics. With these tech solutions for zero-carbon living. today are under the age of 25. In de- tools, ideas that were once unthink- (See p. 16.) veloping countries, the percentage of able become possible. BUILDING A BETTER young people can be as high as 85 per- Take for example the team of four TOMORROW, TODAY cent. But their strength comes from American University students in Shar- It is critical for youth to become in- more than numbers. jah in the United Arab Emirates who volved in sustainable development, Millions of young people are making figured out how to turn noise into en- so that the dream of a greener future it clear that they don’t want to inherit ergy. The team decided to explore an with opportunities and resources or pass on a world threatened by cli- alternative energy source that very few for all can become a reality. The mate change, poverty and illness. In- people had considered. Their results environmental, economic and so- stead, they are using their creativity, are astounding. (See p. 14.) cial challenges we face today require energy and persistence to create a bet- Extraordinary innovation doesn’t need not only international cooperation, ter balance between economic growth to be extraordinarily complicated. One but also individual initiative — and and environmental stewardship. determined student in rural India cre- young people have the ability to One of the many ways young people ated a device that can produce light bring about both. Today’s youth will are ensuring a sustainable future is to from a tractor engine. (See p. 15.) A be tomorrow’s leaders. As many have become advocates for change. teenager from Malawi built a windmill already shown, it is never too soon to from spare junkyard parts. (See p. 13.) start leading. n — Ashley Rainey Donahey eJournal USA 6
  • 9. Did You Know? outh have been par- ticipating in international climate negotiations since Watch Adora Svitak, 12, explain why “child- the first Rio Earth Sum- ish” thinking can be a mit in 1992. In 2009, the good thing! http://goo.gl/u0cbO United Nations officially recognized youth as stakeholders at international climate change con- ventions. That year, 1,500 young people participated in the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP 15) in Copenhagen, Denmark. The number of youth advocates at conventions has been increasing ever since. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit. The U.N. Conference on Sustain- able Development in Rio de Janeiro (commonly called Rio+20) has cre- ated the Conference of Youth for Rio+20 (aka YOUTH BLAST) where more than 2,000 young people are expected to attend.Facing page: Don’t hold me back! KelseyCrowley holds a Monarch butterfly as part of amigration-tracking program in Kansas. Youngpeople work to balance development and theenvironment.This page: Growing up green together: YoungBrazilians learn about native Amazon treesas part of a national curriculum that teachesschoolchildren sustainable ideas and habits.©AP Images/Andre Penner Return to Table of Contents eJournal USA 7
  • 10. eJournal USA 8
  • 11. From Waste to Warmth By Jane Morse mericans love their fried food. Every year notably winning a 2009 President’s Environmental Youth in the United States, billions of gallons of Award. Since 1971, this award has recognized young cooking oil are used to fry favorite dishes. Americans for protecting the nation’s air, water and land. The result is billions of gallons of dif- One of TGIF’s founders, 13-year-old Cassandra Lin, ficult-to-discard grease is left behind. has been recognized by the United Nations Environ- Many restaurants pay private compa- ment Programme (UNEP) for her environmental ac- nies to dispose of their discarded oil, but a pioneering tivism. She will be among 1,400 youth delegates at the group of teenagers in Rhode Island has come up with a 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable De- way to use that grease in a positive way. velopment in Rio de Janeiro. Lin is particularly proud In 2008, five middle-school students from Westerly, that her project helps both people and the environ- Rhode Island, launched Project TGIF (Turning Grease ment. “I want to make an impact,” Lin told UNEP. “It into Fuel). They found a way to convert discarded cook- doesn’t matter how big or small you are, anyone can ing oil into fuel, which they then donate to heat needy make a difference!” n families’ homes. The students worked with Westerly’s Jane Morse is a staff writer with the U.S. State Depart- town council to provide collection containers. Now ment’s Bureau of International Infor- local restaurants and residents are able to donate their mation Programs. cooking oil for recycling. One of TGIF’s partners is called Grease Co. It picks up Facing page: Waste not, want not: (Left to right) Mark Walker, the cooking oil from the collection containers and de- Miles Temel, Vanessa Bertsch, livers it to biodiesel refineries. There, it is recycled into Marissa Chiaradio, Taylor Fiore- fuel. The fuel is then distributed to charitable agencies Chettiar and Cassandra Lin help and families needing heating assistance. convert used cooking oil into energy. Right: Now To date, Project TGIF has produced more than 30,000 accepting offers! (Left gallons (113,562 liters) of biodiesel a year — worth ap- to right) Cassandra Lin, Vanessa Bertsch, proximately $60,000 — and offset the release of nearly Taylor Fiore-Chettiar, 600,000 pounds (272,155 kilograms) of carbon dioxide John Perino and Miles into the atmosphere. The students have donated more Temel set up recycling than 14,000 gallons (53,000 liters) of recycled oil to lo- drums at a local festi- cal charities and helped 144 families with emergency val for food vendors to recycle used oil. heating assistance. The Turning Grease into Fuel project has won recog- nition on both state and national levels — most Photos courte Watch the TGIF team explain how their project works! http://goo.gl/82XtG sy of Westerly Innovation Ne twork Return to eJournal USA 9Table of Contents
  • 12. Sharing a Ride Reduces Traffic and Pollution By Jane Morse Palacios and team members, Anibal Abarca, Alberto Padilla, Federico Alatriste and Ignacio Cordero, first met to discuss their ideas for a ride-sharing project in August 2010. By January 2011, they “L were serving their first clients. ess traffic, lower The ride-sharing service has provenCourtesy of Aventones/Margarida Luz emissions, better cities” — that’s the to be very popular in cities such as mantra of Aventones Mexico City. Drivers there spend an (“Rides”). Aventones average of two hours a day in their is an online ride-shar- cars. Aventones has already begun ing company based in Mexico. offering their services in Chile and hopes to expand to busy cities Aventones was founded by five young Mexi- across Latin America. can entrepreneurs to encourage “carpooling” in their city. The organization provides an Aventones founders have won sev- online service that links commuters who eral awards for their innovative and need transportation with individuals who environmentally friendly business. can provide it. Members register by cre- Their awards include a 2011 e-busi- ating a profile in the company’s network, ness award from the Talent and In- where they offer or request shared trans- novation Competition of the Ameri- portation. Online software matches com- cas and a 2011 “Go Green!” World patible commuters and suggests where Summit Youth Award. n they should meet. Jane Morse is a staff writer with the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of In- Aventones’ founders — all between the ternational Information Programs. ages of 25 and 30 — wanted to launch a business that would raise environ- Top: Can we get a ride? Young en- mental awareness. They also wanted to trepreneurs, Cristina Palacios and improve the quality of life in Mexico. Ignacio Cordero, encourage Mexican commuters to share “I always had the desire to do some- rides and save the envi- thing to improve my country,” said ronment with their com- Cristina Palacios, one the company’s pany Aventones. founders. “That is why Aventones was born.” Visit the Aventones web- site for more information! http://goo.gl/BWuRV eJournal USA 10 Return to Table of Contents
  • 13. Indonesia’s Sahabat Alam, Protecting the Earth By Lauren Monsen deline Tiffanie Suwana of Sahabat Alam planted coral reefs held in 2011 in understands the im- to replace the damaged reefs sur- Indonesia. At portance of environ- rounding the island. The group the conference, mental protection has also helped with fish breeding, Suwana said: in her native turtle protection and tree planting. “As children, we country. The 15- can plant trees [and] clean rivers Sahabat Alam is based in Jakarta. It’s year-old from Indonesia witnessed and beaches, but we cannot stop now an internationally recognized terrible flooding in her country’s industries from polluting our riv- nonprofit group that has won nu- capital city, Jakarta, caused in part ers; we cannot force them to adopt merous awards for its conservation by erosion and climate change. a green economy. We want policies projects. and laws that will make industries In 2008, when she was not quite 11, Suwana has done many things to en- sustainable.” she decided to do something about courage people to protect the Earth. it. During a school holiday, Suwana Suwana won the grand prize of the She presented her ideas to schools organized a gathering of almost 150 Malaysia-China Chamber of Com- and government agencies. She pro- school-aged friends to plant man- merce (MCCC) Golden Green Award duced a television program about groves. These trees prevent damage in 2011. Her efforts through Sahabat conservation and also recorded a from hurricanes and tsunamis. Alam earned her the award and a cash song (in English and Indonesian). prize of $6,000. She told MCCC of- Since that first event, she has re- As a spokeswoman for Sahabat ficials: “With our small hands, we can cruited more students to tackle en- Alam and a role model for youth, make a difference. I hope to reach out vironmental issues. She has invited Suwana is living proof that one per- to youths worldwide so we can con- young people throughout Indone- son can make a difference. tribute our ideas on how to conserve sia to form a community called Sa- the environment.” n habat Alam (Friends of Nature). The United Nations Environment Programme’s International Chil- Lauren Monsen is a staff writer with In the Pulau Pramuka area of Indo- dren and Youth Conference was the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of nesia, Suwana and other members International Information Programs. Top: Follow me! Adeline Suwana proudly waves the Indonesian flag at the 2010 Chil- dren and Youth International “Let’s Take Care of the Planet” Conference in Brazil. Left: We’re rich! Sahabat Alam partners with local schools to plant coral reefsPhotos courtesy of Sahabat Alam in Indonesia, the second richest coun- try on Earth for biodiversity, after Brazil. Watch Suwana’s video “Our Small Hands Against Cli- mate Change”! http://goo.gl/P4tkY eJournal USA 11 Return to Table of Contents
  • 14. GreenShields Clearsthe Air, Boosts educationBy Mary-Katherine ReamE very weekday in the United States, nearly Cohen’s team 480,000 buses transport more than 26 mil- used the funds to Courtesy lion children to and from school. Sharing build a wind tun- transportation helps protect the environment nel for testing of G by limiting carbon dioxide emissions. How- prototypes. In reenShield ever, some old school buses can create a lot 2010, the teamof pollution. Is there a way to make them more “green?” refined the con-That is the question Jonny Cohen asked himself one cept and won a s/Natalieafternoon as he was walking home from school. Notic- $25,000 Pepsiing the clunky body of a school bus, Cohen, then 11, Refresh Grant. Seredawondered if he could create a more streamlined bus. Impressed byCohen came up with the idea of attaching shields to GreenShields’ success, Johnthe fronts of buses to redirect airflow. To test his idea, Benish, a bus company owner in Illinois, donated ahe launched GreenShields, a project to install plastic school bus to the team, and recruited a group of North-panels on buses to make them more aerodynamic and western University engineering students to help themenergy efficient. refine the project.“The focus of GreenShields is to save gas for schools so During a recent test run in Joliet, Illinois, the shield they have more money for education and to help decrease generated a 28 percent reduction in fuel consumption. pollution by using gas more efficiently,” said Cohen. According to some estimates, that reduction could save U.S. schools more than $600 million a year.With the help of his older sister Azza and his friends, Co-hen won a $1,000 Youth Venture grant from Ashoka — This year, Cohen will represent Illinois in the 2012 Pru-a global organization that supports social entrepreneurs. dential Spirit of Community Awards. This national pro- gram recognizes outstanding actsTop: Cutting edge: Jonny Cohen’s Green Shields project attracted volunteers from of youth volunteerism.schools such as MIT and Northwestern, including Manny Casro, Steve Jacobson andJuan Perez. Below: Get to work! GreenShields inventor Jonny Cohen attaches a clear “My goal is to give this technol-screen to the front of a school bus. By improving aerodynamics, the shields make ogy to every school district in thebuses more fuel- and cost-efficient. United States,” says Cohen, “but I Courtesy of GreenShields also hope to inspire kids that any idea they have can become some- thing if they try.” n Mary-Katherine Ream is an intern with the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Informa- tion Programs. Visit the GreenShields web- site for more information! http://goo.gl/ApNnD Return to eJournal USA 12 Table of Contents
  • 15. Building ind ills Photos: Tom Rielly by Candlelight By Louise Fenner t age 15, William But Kamkwamba isn’t satisfied to harness wind and sun’s power more Kamkwamba scoured help only his family. He aims to effectively,” he says. Currently, only a junkyard in his improve the lives of everyone in 2 percent of rural Malawians have remote village of Malawi. Since building his wind- electricity. n Wimbe, Malawi. mills, Kamkwamba has worked on Louise Fenner is a staff writer with K a m k w a m b a’s preventing malaria in his commu- the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of family had no nity, providing clean water using a International Information Programs. running water or solar-powered pump and building a electricity. Family members spent drip irrigation system. two hours a day hauling water, Kamkwamba returned to school and used paraffin candles for light. and graduated from the African Watch to learn more He had dropped out of secondary Leadership Academy in Johannes- about William’s inspi- school because his family could not burg, South Africa. After that, he rational story! http://goo.gl/ROigg afford the fees. He continued his co-authored a book, The Boy Who education by spending his days in a Harnessed the Wind. He has spoken Top: Just getting started: Wil- library. This is where he found the about his experiences at events all liam Kamkwamba has built books that would literally change over the world, such as the World three energy-producing wind- his life, including one with a pic- Economic Forum, TEDGlobal mills for his family compound ture of windmills on the cover. and many others. He inspired a in Malawi. He hopes to pro- nongovernmental orga- vide reliable, clean energy to “I didn’t read English well, so I his entire country. Right: See- mainly taught myself these things nization called Mov- ing is believing: William Kam- by studying the pictures and dia- ing Windmills, which kwamba recycled discarded grams,” Kamkwamba said in his supports rural economic metal and plastic to cre- blog. Kamkwamba began a blog in development and educa- ate a windmill in tion projects in Malawi. Malawi. 2007, five years after he built his first windmill from discarded piec- The organization helped es of metal and plastic. He used a rebuild Kamkwamba’s pri- rusted tractor fan for a rotor, a bro- mary school in Wimbe, which ken bicycle, plastic pipes and wood. now uses wind and solar power. He even made his own hammers, Kamkwamba is now a sopho- screwdrivers and washers. more in engineering at Dart- The first windmill Kamkwamba mouth College in Hanover, built, which was 5 meters (15 feet) New Hampshire. He is 24, and tall, produced enough electricity wants to start a company that can to power several light bulbs and a provide “reliable electricity” to Ma- radio. He since has built two more lawi, especially through renewable windmills for his family compound. energy sources. He also installed a well so that his “I will try family can irrigate its garden and to use grow produce year round. my engi- neering skills to Return toTable of Contents eJournal USA 13
  • 16. NoiseGoesElectric By Jane MorseScore one for the environment! Piezoelectric technology converts vibrations into energy, so noise from cheering fans becomes asource of clean, renewable energy.F ©AP Images/The Canadian Press/Chris Young or most of us, noise produces nothing but stadium could be used to energize more than the headaches. But four students at the Ameri- players on the field. can University of Sharjah in the United Arab Piezoelectric devices can even capture noise too quiet to Emirates have found a way to capture the be heard by the human ear, such as sounds produced in energy in noise and turn it into electricity. an aquarium. “People are already developing solar power, Ajmal believes his team’s work might also be used to im- wind and geothermal energy and biofuels. We thought, prove the quality of life for the world’s poor.‘Why not do something unique in an area nobody is work- ing on?’” student Arsalan Mohammad told Ed Arabia. The four American University students have been rec- ognized for their innovative work by the Institution ofAutomobiles, machines, people and animals all create Engineering and Technology (IET). IET is a globallysound and vibrations, which can be captured by materi- acclaimed professional society for the engineering andals that generate voltage. Mohammad and fellow students technology community.Mohammad Ajmal, Danial Ahmad and MohammadAteeq developed a new device with these materials. The The students said they were motivated by the globaldevice converts mechanical energy, acoustic noise and drive to develop alternative forms of renewable and sus-ultrasonic waves into clean, renewable energy. tainable energy. “If we as youth don’t take the steps right now to contribute to the development of alternative en-These devices are called piezoelectric technology, and ergy, we would be limiting ourselves,” Mohammad toldthey have many potential uses. For example, if they are Ed Arabia. “Now is the time for youth to step up and putinstalled in shoes, they could charge an electronic device forth their innovative ideas.” nsuch as a mobile phone. If they are put in road bumps,they could capture energy and power surrounding street Jane Morse is a staff writer with the U.S. State Depart-lights. The roar of the crowd in a packed football ment’s Bureau of International Information Programs. Return to eJournal USA 14 Table of Contents
  • 17. Rural Innovation in IndiaS By Kathryn McConnell tudying at night was With the help of his invention, they plugged in the wires. Through making Shailesh Upad- Upadhyay was able to enroll in demonstrations, Upadhyay and hyay sick. university and study engineering. Shanker showed that at only 12 In the rural village in When he mentioned his design to volts, the gadget is very safe. Gurera, India, where classmate Ujala Shanker, who also Students in Gurera started using Upadhyay grew up, grew up in Gurera, the two co- Tractor-Factor’s circuit. They wereelectricity was hard to come by. founded Tractor-Factor, a venture able to study longer, and the num-With only a few hours of electricity to light homes in rural villages and ber of students passing their examsavailable during the day, Upadhyay help students study longer. nearly doubled. Some 240,000 fewerhad to study at night by the light of “Like me, many rural students strug- liters of carbon dioxide were releaseda kerosene lamp. gle to progress in spite of their intel- into the atmosphere each month.But Upadhyay had asthma and the ligence and enthusiasm,” Upadhyay “Understanding the needs and afford-kerosene’s toxic fumes affected his told Ashoka, a global organization ability and fine-tuning the solutionbreathing each night that he studied. that supports social entrepreneurs are the key,” Upadhyay told Ashoka.He was forced to drop out of school. such as Upadhyay. “Being a good observer helps in iden-Upadhyay was determined not to But their venture had many chal- tifying the difficulties and simplestgive up his studies, so he came up lenges. Upadhyay and Shanker first ideas that could be of great impact.”with a bright idea: use tractor bat- had to convince villagers to use the Upadhyay and Shanker since haveteries to power lamps. He designed circuit. Many villagers were wor- incorporated their idea into a largera circuit board that channels ener- ried that taking power from a bat- project called Stitches, which aimsgy from tractor batteries into com- tery would lessen its life. However, to improve the socio-economicpact fluorescent lamps, which are they were surprised to learn that the welfare of farmers. So far, theymore energy-efficient than regular circuit could actually extend battery have helped more than 200 peoplelight bulbs. life when used regularly. Villagers across rural India. Their work has feared they would get a shock when also helped Shanker obtain a fel- lowship to study for a master’s Courtesy of Stitches degree at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. Shanker will be the first person from Gurera to study in the United States. n Kathryn McConnell is a staff writer with the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs. Watch Shailesh and Ujala explain their project! http://goo.gl/KzImA Return to eJournal USA 15 Table of Contents
  • 18. Team Belgium: Solar Can Be Affordable By Karin Rives S tudents at Belgium’s Ghent University de- high-tech solutions for modern, zero-carbon living. “At-Photos: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Dept. of Energy cided to do some homework before they tractive,” recalled 24-year-old Ghent University student designed their solar house for competition Michael Arens, but were they built for a mass market? in 2011. In September 2009, they traveled “The thing that got us all thinking was, ‘OK, this is the to Washington to see for themselves what most energy-efficient house, but who can afford it? So the Solar Decathlon was all about. As one what’s the use then?’” Arens said. “Our goal became to student put it, they went to “learn some prove that it’s possible to make a house that is energy tips and tricks.” efficient and accessible for all kinds of people — as long The 2011 Solar Decathlon was sponsored by the U.S. as they’re willing to live a little differently.” Department of Energy. It brought together university The students had intense brainstorming sessions where teams from around the world in a competition to de- they developed four alternative designs. They finally sign, build and operate the most cost-effective, energy- settled on the E-Cube, which is a factory-built, “do-it- efficient, and attractive solar-powered house. yourself ” kit of a house that meets basic living needs. The houses, displayed at Washington’s National Mall, It does not require expensive materials or finishes. The were beautifully designed. They were equipped with sleek, Ghent University students estimate that their house, eJournal USA 16
  • 19. appliances included, will cost a homebuyer about$268,000 — roughly one-half of what winning Solar “Our goal became to proveDecathlon houses have been priced in the past. that it’s possible to makeArens and the three other students on the projectmerged features from each of their four alternative de- a house that is energy signs into one. The process was chal- lenging at times. The core team is efficient and accessible for made up of seven students, and is all kinds of people — as long called Team Belgium. The team has learned the hard way that Belgian as they’re willing to live a building codes don’t always accom- little differently.” modate unconventional home de- sign. They’re also finding that red tape goal was to prove that it’s possible to live in a sustainable, can slow down students eager to get a energy-efficient house that is affordable — even if you project done. have to live a little differently. I’m really glad that thisIn the end, they were thrilled with the outcome. is the house we ended up with. And in the end, it’s theThe two-story E-Cube (short for Energy Cube) is shaped basic, simple design that makes it beautiful.” nexactly as it sounds. It measures 8 meters by 8 meters Karin Rives is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C.and provides a total living area of exactly 93 square me-ters — the maximum floor space allowed in the SolarDecathlon. It’s a basic, functional two-bedroom housewith an open, high ceiling in the central living area thatmakes the space look bigger than it is. Watch this video toThe cube shape makes the house compact, reducing the learn more about thesurface area exposed to the elements. These efficiencies, 2011 Solar Decathlon! http://goo.gl/6pxHKtogether with the lack of “extras” such as wall paint anddecorations, help keep it affordable. By mixing “warm” Facing page: Shine on: Light from Team Belgium’s solar house il-material (wood) with “cold” material (steel), members luminates the night sky in Washington, DC. Belgium’s 2011 Solarof Team Belgium say they have given the house a unique Decathlon entry proves that energy efficiency can be beautiful.and appealing look. Inset: Lounging in the solar house: Visitors relax and chat with the E-Cube’s designers. Below: It takes a village: University teams from“We didn’t want to make something that looked really all over the world converge to construct energy-efficient home Return to beautiful or like a traditional house,” Arens said. “Our models for the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon. Table of Contents eJournal USA 17
  • 20. By Mark Trainer estation is thought to be a major contributor to climate change. In addition, the fumes from primitive home ovens are a major cause of respiratory disease in the developing world. The Kyoto Box, on the other hand, produces no carbon emissions. Bøhmer is a Norwegian who lives and runs his com- pany in Kenya. He had been researching solar-cooking solutions for a decade, but the first Kyoto cooker came together much more quickly. “This took me about a weekend, and it worked on the first try,” Bøhmer told CNN. “It’s mind-boggling how simple it is.” The Kyoto Box won $75,000 in the 2009 FT Climate Change Challenge award, which is run by Forum for the Future and the Financial Times newspaper. The simplicity of the Kyoto Box’s design (which has been refined and is now made from recycled plastic) makes it possible to produce each box for just $5. “We’re saving lives and saving trees,” Bøhmer told Lon- don’s The Telegraph newspaper. “I doubt if there is any other technology that can make so much impact for so little money.” n Mark Trainer is a staff writer with the U.S. State Depart- The Kyoto Box, which can boil water and bake food without burning wood, benefits people like these Masai women from Kenya while also ment’s Bureau of International Information Programs. reducing deforestation. What’s in the box? The latest version of the Kyoto Box is J made from polypropylene and acryl glass. Bøhmer’s origi- Photos: Courtesy of Kyoto Energy Ltd. on Bøhmer’s Kyoto Box started out as a sci- nal solar cooker was created with plexi- glass, cardboard, foil and black paint. ence project with his two young daughters, but it soon turned out to be a major benefit to 3 billion people who struggle to cook their food with clean, renewable energy. The original Kyoto Box was made with plexiglass and Watch a video about two cardboard boxes. One box was covered with foil the benefits of solar and the other was painted black inside. It is capable of cookers! boiling water and baking food without the need for fire- http://goo.gl/XwhXw wood. This solar cooker uses the sun, which is a clean and accessible energy source. The Kyoto Box is a major advance in safe, healthy cooking for those who lack ac- cess to clean water or firewood. The use of wood fires for cooking has led to extensive deforestation in many parts of the world — and defor- Return toTable of Contents eJournal USA 18
  • 21. 10 Top 10 Reasons to Go Green in 2012 By Road to Rio+20 This is the year for young people around the world to campaign and act on local and global sustainable development issues. Here are 10 very important reasons you should get involved: 1 It’s your future! How old will you be in 2050? The choices and actions we take today will shape the world to come — not just for us, but for future generations as well. Do you have what it takes to leave a better world for your children’s children? 2 Rio+20 Brazil will host an important event even before the World Cup and the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro: the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). Get involved in sustainable development initiatives now, in the lead-up to this summit. Help inspire world leaders to chart a path to a cleaner, greener future! 3 Gain experience, make a difference Improve your job prospects while improving the world! Work in the field of sustainable development to get valuable hands-on experience, as well as positive karma. Got sustainable development experience on your resume? Awesome! 4 Join a growing sector The world is now working toward a low-carbon future, so more and more green jobs are appearing every day. In Germany alone, the number of jobs in the renewable energy sector is expected to increase by more than 35 percent by 2030 from 2010 levels. Prepare yourself for tomorrow’s job market today! 5 Any skill can benefit the cause What are you good at? Your skills are bound to be useful in sustainable development. From conservation, engineering and policy to education, media and research, all kinds of talents and skills are needed. Make a positive difference by putting your natural talents to work!©AP Images/Samir Thapa eJournal USA 19
  • 22. Top 10 Reasons to Go Green in 2012 6 Tackle causes, not symptoms Poverty, environmental damage and economic inequality are symptoms of complex, inter-related problems that sustainable development aims to address. Help combat the root causes of these multifaceted problems by getting involved! You are needed now more than everMa 7thi eu We hear stories every day of individuals, communities So and nations negatively affected by unsustainable living ete patterns. There is no better time to act than now! You won’t be alone 8 Sustainable development may be a relatively new field, but it is very popular. People of all backgrounds work and volunteer to keep the sector running and growing. Get involved now and meet like-minded young people, ©AP Images/Ken Osburn who play a huge part in the process! Freedom to be creative 9 It takes positive thinking and lots of imagination to raise awareness and take action on sustainable development issues. Do you aspire to be an inventor, entrepreneur, Top: Let’s go! More than 100 young people gathered at the University on artist or activist? Promote sustainable development and Youth and Development in Mollina, stimulate your imagination! Spain, to participate in the global 2011 Moving Planet Day campaign. Fun and adventure Above: Get ready! A growing num- ber of students, including Clem- 10 Who said saving the world couldn’t be fun? Participate son University engineering student Jackie Blizzard, are preparing for in massive stunts, join an online campaign or create art careers in sustainable development. — all for a good cause. Get involved with sustainable development, and you’ll work with some of the most dynamic and creative people on the planet. You’ll be surprised by what can happen! Road to Rio+20 is a coalition of more than 60 partner organizations from around the world. It aims to motivate, inspire, engage and support young people to take action on issues of sustainable development, and influence the outcomes of the 2012 U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development (also known as Rio+20). Peace Child International is the coalition’s coordinating partner. Visit Road to Rio+20’s website for The opinions expressed in this article do not more information about how you necessarily reflect the views or policies of the can get involved! U.S. government. http://goo.gl/GhkVL Return to Table of Contents eJournal USA 20
  • 23. Have Something to Say?Join the Conversation!Visit us on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/ejournalUSA!
  • 24. on! n g s oA o m i urnal USc Jo in e Sports Strengthen Communities Check out the upcoming issue of eJournal USA devoted entirely to sports! Many young athletes dream of becoming superstars in their sport, but making big bucks in the big leagues is not what sports are all about. In the United States, sports play a major role in community life and teach valuable lessons such as discipline, teamwork and tolerance that help players succeed on and off the field.