Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Public safety

While the term “Climate Change” brings about a host of responses when dropped into casual conversation, there have been many weather events that give credence to the idea that our planet is undergoing some pattern shifts.  Since we don’t have written records that date back to the days of the dinosaurs, we have no way of knowing if the recent changes have occurred at some time previously – and, there was no Social Media to give us instantaneous reports back then either!

With all that being said – whether you believe in the phenomenon of “Climate Change” or not – UNESCO believes that it is important to educate today’s students on climatology so they are prepared for the future.  They have designed a tool for teachers, released earlier this year, so that this topic can be discussed and explored.   Regardless of your position on the politics, knowing about the weather and its effects can not be a bad idea for inclusion in the curriculum.  Read about UNESCO’s publication here:




(If you want a more in-depth look at the content, you can download the publication using the link they provide on the right.)


Learn more about UNESCO’s programs to promote education, diversity, sustainable living and their other global impacts by clicking on the logo:


UNESCO is known as the “intellectual” agency of the United Nations. At a time when the world is looking for new ways to build peace and sustainable development, people must rely on the power of intelligence to innovate, expand their horizons and sustain the hope of a new humanism. UNESCO exists to bring this creative intelligence to life; for it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace and the conditions for sustainable development must be built.

What will your contribution be towards innovation that sustains our home planet?

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Sherlock Holmes, the fictional detective, was regularly whipping his trusty magnifying glass out of his greatcoat to examine clues at crime scenes.  In both the printed short stories and novels, as well as on film, his deeper scrutiny of evidence – via the enlargement by lens – was most often followed by an “a-ha!” moment that typically leads to the villian(s)’ undoing.  Now, imagine that every man, woman and child all over the planet could engage in their own “a-ha” moment…not necessarily as a crime-solver, but for the simple pleasure of seeking out answers.

That’s the dream of one Manu Prakash, a professor at Stanford University in California.  He wants everyone to have the tools available to “think like a scientist”!  High-tech usually equates to high dollars to obtain the equipment necessary for scientific study.  School budgets are notoriously strapped in both developed and developing countries.  Professor Prakash and his research mates at PrakashLab have given the every-man a solution – their unit is a print-and-fold optical microscope that can be assembled from a flat sheet of paper:


Foldscope: Microscopy for



Photo credit:


Released in 2014, and much publicized then (check out: Foldscope Is A Paper Microscope That Can Fit In Your Pocket on Inquisitr) and since (take a look at this video posted on the Stanford Medicine Scope blog this June: Microscopes for the masses), the intervening time has been spent making this patented invention available in all corners of the globe.

And take a look at the many uses that have been devised by the folks who were part of their highly successful beta program:

Foldscope Explore: Exploring the Microcosmos


The endless possibilities for exploration and learning and disease control and…  well, what will YOU do with the microscope in YOUR pocket?  Or will you create the next affordable equipment that we can all have access to?  The journey has begun – where will you take it?

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October 8th, 2015

I love it when I come across articles that describe how companies are using waste products in unconventional ways.  I find the solutions for everyday waste products both fascinating and surprising (and in some cases think – I should have thought of that!).

Take a look at some of these really cool recycle ideas:

1.  Turning tomatoes into plastics – because the demand for plastics is growing, more thought is needed on how to sustainably satisfy the demand.  Auto-giant Ford has been leading research into 100% bio-based plastics, teaming up with Heinz in a mutually beneficial heinzWhile producing their world famous ketchup, Heinz generates up to 2 million tons of stems, seeds and skins every single year. In a collaboration with plastics research specialists from Ford, the companies are striving to create a plastic material from plant byproducts which can be used in many aspects of automotive design and finishing.  The Coca-Cola Company, Nike Inc. and Procter & Gamble are also involved in the project, which will incorporate bio-plastic material into everything from packaging to clothing, making a huge dent in the impact of petrochemical-based products on the environment.

2.  De-icing roads with cheese brine – yes, you read that correctly.  The Wisconsin city of Milwaukee has discovered a way to alleviate the dairy manufacturers’ problem of disposing of thousands upon thousands of gallons of cheese brine (the salty liquid which is left over after the production of Wisconsin’s famous soft cheeses).  They will use this cheese brine waste to treat the harsh winter roadways which freeze over with ice.  This new partnership saves tens of thousands of dollars for the municipality and manufacturers every year.

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3.  Making beer with unsold bread – The “Brussels Beer Project” led by the Belgium micro-brewers have teamed up with a local sustainability group to produce “Babylone”- a beer made using leftover bread which would otherwise have been thrown out.

Talented brewing specialists were able to reduce the amount of barley used in the brewing process and replace it with bread sourced from local supermarkets, a move which sees an average of 500kg worth of unused loaves that find their way into 4000 liters of amber ale.

blog bread

4.  Using sugar beets to cool refrigerators – Anaerobic digestion, the process by which biodegradable waste materials are converted into energy or heat – has become a staple in the quest for greener industry.  The success of anaerobic digestion led UK supermarket giant Sainsbury’s to investigate new ways in which food byproducts could be utilized, leading to the implementation of eCO2: an alternative refrigerant which is derived from waste sugar beet.

blog sugar beets

Piles of sugar beets. Waste beet material is being used to create eCO2.

eCO2 meets all the refrigeration requirements of CO2, but is manufactured in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way. The same manufacturer that supplies Sainsbury’s with sugar also supplies the refrigeration company with the waste beet material necessary for creating eCO2, which Sainsbury’s will use to cut their CO2 emissions by 30% by 2020.

Do you have any waste produced that you can recycle into something that reduces the draw on our natural resources?

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The many issues facing the African continent concerning food, energy, healthcare, and many other services taken for granted in various areas of the globe continue to dominate headlines.  Those issues bring the heads of nations to the table to speak seriously on what we all can do to address crises that arise in any part of the world.  If each of us were to take steps in our own lives to examine the way we go about our daily routines, there could be some miraculous improvements.  Take a look at a company in Africa that is dedicated to that concept – and the well-deserved recognition they’ve received for their work!  Notably, they were a recipient of a Genesis Generation Prize in 2015.  Click the logo below to learn about this exciting company in Nairobi, Kenya…



Check out some of the awards and accolades Sanergy has garnered.  And, their reach extends beyond the places in which inhabitants live…  Read about:

Scaling sanitation in schools: Sanergy’s partnership with the SWASH+ Consortium

Sanergy’s School WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) program aims to raise students’ awareness of the importance of hygienic sanitation. Over the last year, Sanergy has made good progress toward this goal, training teachers from 109 primary schools in the Mukuru and Kamukunji areas of Nairobi. Of these, 90 schools have now installed Fresh Life Toilets for their students.


Take a look, too, at this site & think about becoming a competitor…

Genesis Generation Challenge

The Genesis Generation Challenge welcomes multi-disciplinary teams of young adults to propose big ideas to better the world. Each team must consist of approximately 10 individuals and must designate a team leader (age 20-36). Other team members must be 18 years or older. Teams may represent nonprofit or for profit entities. Because the idea must offer a sustainable and scalable solution to an important problem, we are seeking social entrepreneurs and others with experience delivering projects with lasting and innovative change in their communities and the world.

Maybe your submission will bring about a remarkable change that leaves your imprint on civilization!

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September 29th, 2015

While it may sound like an oxymoron, the WalkCar is a reality.

With mobile phones, an industry was created that changed the communications model and allowed people to talk with one another anytime and anywhere -  free from a ‘land line’.  The WalkCar may do the same for the auto industry.  It may be an item that will revolutionize the way we think about transportation – in addition to helping solve the dilemma of being unable to find a parking spot in a crowded urban location!!

As described by Charles Osgood on CBS Radio:  It is a lightweight aluminum board that – despite looking like a cookie sheet on wheels – has a top speed of over six miles an hour and a range of nearly seven-and-a-half miles when fully charged. …  The device is also pretty simple to maneuver, with the rider just shifting his weight to change direction.

Kuniaki Sato is the CEO of Cocoa Motors, which makes the WalkCar. He told Reuters it was designed to fit in a small bag…

Check out the video on YouTube here:



For those of us who haven’t mastered a skateboard, this may be a tad unnerving – I like to have something to hold on to when I’m free-rolling along a sidewalk.  But, it certainly looks like fun!  And it’s a non-polluting source of mobility.  What’s your opinion?

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