When many of us think of the younger generations we often fear for the future of the planet. We think of how much time they spend with their faces buried in their phones and computers. We think of their shrinking attention spans -as evidenced by the popularity of social media platforms such as Twitter and Vine. And we think of the people they idolize and model themselves after.
All of these thoughts are viable concerns, but when I look at the world’s younger generation I see great hope and a brighter tomorrow. I remind myself to remove the filter of comparison and to put into perspective that the world isn’t the same as it was when I grew up.
Here are 7 remarkable kids/ teens that I feel should give us all hope for the future of the world:
1. Elif Bilgin
16-year-old Elif Bilgin is a remarkable teen from Istanbul, Turkey. Despite still being a student, Elif has discovered a way to make bio plastic from banana peels -a project that she had worked on for 2 years before finding success. Through her own independent research, Elif came to understand the bio-plastic industry and has since shown the world that it is possible to create a plastic that is both reliable and a superior alternative to the current toxic plastics we rely upon.
Read more about Elif here: 16 Year-Old Invents Bio-Plastic From Banana Peels
2. Boyan Slat
As a 19-year-old, Dutch environmentalist Boyan Slat revealed to the world his plans to develop an Ocean Cleanup Array capable of removing up to 7.25 million tons of plastic waste from the world’s oceans. Despite heavy criticism, Boyan pushed forward with his invention raising $2.1 million and in June of 2014 he released an update based on early testing. The update announced the device would be ready in 3-4 years time with the capability to cleanup nearly half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 years.
Read more about Boyan here: Many Said It Would Fail, But It Works & It Can Help Change Our World
3. Logan Laplante
At a TEDx talk in 2013, then 13-year-old Logan Laplante eloquently delivered a powerful speech regarding his unique educational upbringing. Logan is home schooled and is given the freedom to tailor his education towards his interests and to the methods that best work for him. Logan’s speech and perspective on life gives us all something to think about when it comes to re-shaping the way that we educate our youth.
Read more about Logan here: This Is What Happens When A Kid Leaves Traditional Education
4. Rachel Parent
15-year-old Rachel Parent has become a very recognizable figure in the realm of GMOs, a subject that she first studied at the age of 12 as part of a school project. Since, Rachel took part in a heated debate with Kevin O’Leary that went viral and set the stage perfectly for a powerful TEDx talk she delivered in Toronto. Rachel is currently part of the United Nations Youth Leaders Education program and is the founder of Kids Right To Know, which is an organization with the mission of informing the public about food safety.
Read more about Rachel here: GMOs Are A Bad Idea. If A 15 Year Old Can See It So Clearly, Why Can’t Many Scientists?
5. Victoria Grant
In 2012, Victoria Grant, who was then only 12-years-old delivered a powerful and comprehensive speech fully revealing one of the world’s best kept secrets. In her speech Victoria exposes the immorality of the global banking system. Victoria speaks about how our world financial system really works and how it was specifically designed to enslave the population. Such a profound understanding of something that so many refuse to comprehend is truly remarkable.
Read more about Victoria here: 12-Year Old Child Reveals One Of The Best Kept Secrets In The World
6. Bindi Irwin
Bindi Irwin, daughter of the legendary Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin who tragically passed away in 2006, first became recognizable for the powerful eulogy she delivered as an 8-year-old at her father’s funeral. At that time, Bindi pledged to continue on with her father’s conservation efforts and has since done just that through Wildlife Warriors a charity founded by her family. Bindi stepped even further into the spotlight in 2012 after writing an essay on conservation as part of secretary Hillary Clinton’s endangered species initiative. The essay was edited by request of Hillary Clinton, fuelling Bindi to eloquently respond in defence of freedom of speech.
Read more about Bindi here: 14-Year-Old Bindi Irwin Stands Up To Hillary Clinton For Freedom Of Speech
7. Iris Grace
Iris is by far the youngest to grace this list at just 5-years-old. The remarkable young girl diagnosed with autism is quickly becoming famous for her incredible work as a painter. Iris is considered a “savant,” an individual with remarkable characteristics in a specific area despite their diagnosis of a neuro-developmental disorder. Iris’ work is both beautiful and a testament to the potential within each and every one of us, no matter our differences.
Read more about Iris here: 5 Year Old Girl With Autism Creates Extraordinary Paintings That Belong In A Gallery
These 7 individuals are just a sample of I’m sure hundreds of remarkable young minds that are actively making a difference in the world. Feel free to share any others that come to mind via the comment section below.