Rid the Oceans of Plastic (But First Tear Down the Walls of Apathy & Conformity)

Image result for boyan slat

Like Mr. Burns, I love go-getters. Perhaps not ones like H. Simpson, but I enjoy doing business with these kind of men and womenfolk.

Take Boyan Slat, for example. He’s Dutch. He’s 23 years old. Since he was 16, his life mission has been to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. His project is called The Ocean Cleanup.

Ha ha. Yeah, right. When Dutch ovens fly! the eternal pessimist says. You pull that one off, kid, and I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn for sale. Ha ha ha…

Kishore Mahbubani, Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, didn’t have the same reaction when he met the Boy Wonder at the annual Davos meetings of the World Economic Forum (WEF) last year. Rather, Mr. Mahbubani had his knickers blown off. He then wrote about this experience in The Straits Times in an article titled “Youth here lack idealism: A meeting with a young Dutchman spurs the writer to reflect on the deficit of this quality among Singapore youth.”

Read the article for inspiration, to lament the youth of Singapore, or simply to learn more about how you even begin cleaning up the millions upon millions of tons of plastic that are currently polluting the world’s oceans. Or read it to understand what Randy Pausch meant when he said “tear down the brick walls.”

Go get ’em, Boy Wonder. You’ve got the support of the world behind you.

Update: In the spirit of rational discourse, I’m linking to an article from The Guardian (“Too good to be true? The Ocean Cleanup Project faces feasibility questions“) about how realistic this project is. Thanks to Toby. R, who works in the same field, for sending this my way.


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