The world-changing potential of STEAM-powered youth

February 11, 2021 by  
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The world-changing potential of STEAM-powered youth Shana Rappaport Thu, 02/11/2021 – 00:01 For more essays and articles by Shana Rapport, sign up for VERGE Weekly , one of our free newsletters. The last time I profiled a young technologist working to change the world, she went on to be honored as Time Magazine’s first Kid of the Year . Just sayin’ — we know how to spot a rising star. On that note, meet Danielle Boyer, who promises to be no exception. An Indigenous educator, inventor, author and environmental activist, Boyer has, at age 20, already accomplished more than most adults to increase diversity, accessibility and affordability in the STEAM education space — science, technology, engineering, art and math.  If you care about accelerating an equitable clean economy, then you need to care about STEAM — specifically, the woeful underrepresentation of women and people of color working in these industries, and the disparate access to quality STEAM education that precedes it. Research shows that having a diverse workforce not only drives innovation and market growth , but also underscores the significant risks of perpetuating inequities when people of color are left out of creating the products and services we all use.  If we are to leverage the full potential of science and technology to address our most pressing global challenges, the people developing these solutions must represent society as a whole. Image Credit: Drawn by Danielle Boyer, Founder and CEO of STEAM Connection That’s why Boyer is working to solve this problem by getting to the root — ensuring that young people of color, particularly girls and those in Indigenous communities, have access to quality STEAM education. I caught up with her recently to talk about technology innovation and environmental education. The following conversation has been edited for clarity and length. Shana Rappaport: Your work is rooted in the belief that ensuring equitable access to environmental education and engineering opportunities is a social and environmental imperative. Why is that? Danielle Boyer: I believe that every child has the potential to be an Earth Innovator — someone who uses their unique talents, interests and skills to benefit our Earth. Giving kids skills in technology, engineering and science to use in their lives as innovators, activists and changemakers is so important. Us youth are the ones who are being affected the most by climate change, and we need, as I say, all of our superpowers to fight it. Each of our superpowers are different and can contribute to positive change, but we must be taught how to use them.  Unfortunately, not every child has the opportunity to discover their superpower, because they don’t have access to learning technical skills — skills that will not only transform their future, but the future of our Earth, too. Underserved communities are isolated from learning these important skills, leaving these kids at a huge disadvantage.  I’ve centered my mission around providing resources to these kids with an emphasis on youth of color and girls, especially in Indigenous communities, like my own. I think that we all deserve to learn what our superpowers are and to be given the opportunity to use them. Rappaport: Talk a little bit about the organization that you founded, STEAM Connection , and how initiatives such as your flagship program, Every Kid Gets a Robot, are designed to fulfill your mission. Boyer: I founded the STEAM Connection in January 2019, which wasn’t that long ago. Our work brings accessible, affordable and diverse STEAM education to children all around the world, and it has been such a cool journey. I work with a team of all minorities — we’re all students in STEAM and we work to bring things like robotics, classes and more to youth.  One of my favorite projects is called Every Kid Gets a Robot , which is a robot that I invented — it costs less than $20, is made out of biodegradable and recycled materials and I send it to kids for free in 12 countries, which is insane. The robot has been to more places than I have. I’ve used it to teach kids skills on everything from electrical engineering to computer science to mechanical engineering. I absolutely love the robots.  Each of our superpowers are different and can contribute to positive change, but we must be taught how to use them. All of these initiatives matter a lot to me, because I’m able to use them to supplement the environmental and STEAM classes that I teach. It’s been so much fun, because I’ve been able to reach tens of thousands of kids now, along with the 35 youth robotics teams that I mentor.  One of my most recent initiatives is called Hands-On Techie Talks — it’s a podcast that I started with my 13-year-old mentee, Vinaya Gunasekar, which is crazy — she’s 13! We started a podcast for kids to bring resources for environmental innovation in a hands-on way to kids during the pandemic, and it has been so much fun. Rappaport: What are your impressions of how Gen Z views the role of technology innovation in accelerating solutions to environmental problems? Boyer: This is a really interesting question — because honestly, when I was 10 years old and got started, I had never used a computer before. Things have changed so much since I was a young kid.  Technology now drives everything that Gen Z does. But, I often think that many young kids don’t necessarily see environmental activists as designers, programmers and scientists. Many of them see activists as media figures who lead protests — and while that certainly is an aspect of it, I think that it puts them off because it may not suit their interests, or they may not see environmental role models who look like them.  Showing kids that they can use their skills right now affects how they see themselves and their potential impact, and everyone needs to play an active role in our Earth. We need people to design robots that clean up oil spills. I believe in doing more than just advocating for a solution, but also being an active part of creating ones, too.  For me, that looks like education that creates well-informed innovators with an emphasis on robotics — because, like I encourage my students to do, I’m using my own unique skillsets to do what I can to benefit our Earth. And I’m close to their age, too. Rappaport: What kind of support can the private sector provide to you, and to Indigenous communities, either as corporate partners or as intergenerational allies? Boyer: I’m always excited to answer this question, because businesses hold the key to so much change. They’re able to solve so many problems that we see in our communities, and they have so much potential for impact — no matter the size of the company.  I don’t think you necessarily need to have an environmental activism program or initiative at your organization to make important change. I believe that people should start with supporting young changemakers in their own communities — and, on theme with our discussion, to use their own skills. For example, are you a financial adviser? Use your skills to help a young person who’s trying to start their nonprofit. Are you in marketing? Help someone who is creating an online platform and needs to get their platform out there.  To find these youth, I suggest getting involved in nonprofits that cater to students, especially ones engaged in Indigenous issues. We Indigenous peoples take care of 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity in rainforests, and in community lands we store at least 24 percent of above-ground carbon in the world’s tropical rainforests. A lot of people don’t know that. I recommend checking out organizations such as the American Indian Science and Engineering Society to see how you can get involved and be engaged as a mentor, a role model and a leader. Image Credit: Drawn by Danielle Boyer, Founder and CEO of STEAM Connection Pull Quote Each of our superpowers are different and can contribute to positive change, but we must be taught how to use them. Topics Social Justice Youth Indigenous People Environmental Justice GreenBiz 21 Featured Column On the VERGE Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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The world-changing potential of STEAM-powered youth

Airbus unveils worlds first zero-emission commercial aircrafts

October 20, 2020 by  
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European aerospace corporation Airbus has unveiled three designs for the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircrafts that would rely on hydrogen as a primary power source. Collectively dubbed ZEROe, the climate-neutral, zero-emission concepts are designed to carry maximum passenger loads between 100 and 200 people for flights that range from short-haul trips to transcontinental journeys. Airbus’ hydrogen-powered commercial aircrafts could enter service as early as 2035. Revealed in late September, Airbus’ three concept designs are primarily fueled by hydrogen but differ in aerodynamic configurations and technological pathways. They will be further evaluated and assessed for feasibility. The zero-emission commercial concepts include the “turbofan” design that can accommodate 120 to 200 passengers with a range of over 2,000 nautical miles to make the aircraft ideal for transcontinental trips. The plane would be powered with a modified gas-turbine engine that runs on hydrogen, rather than jet fuel, on combustion. Related: The Skai hydrogen-powered aircraft produces zero emissions The second concept is the “turboprop” design that can hold up to 100 passengers. Named after its turboprop engine, the hydrogen combustion-powered aircraft also features a modified gas-turbine engine but would only be capable of traveling around 1,000 nautical miles on shorter trips. The last design is the “blended-wing body”, the most eye-catching concept of the three, that can accommodate up to 200 passengers. This model features an exceptionally wide fuselage thanks to the connection of the wings to the main body of the aircraft. “This is a historic moment for the commercial aviation sector as a whole and we intend to play a leading role in the most important transition this industry has ever seen. The concepts we unveil today offer the world a glimpse of our ambition to drive a bold vision for the future of zero-emission flight,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO. Airbus plans to work together with government and industrial partners to provide increased funding for research and technology into sustainable fuels and the realization of the ZEROe prototypes. + Airbus Images via Airbus

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Designers made this pavilion out of upcycled paper waste

October 14, 2019 by  
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Originally created for the Copenhagen Art Fair to showcase a new sustainable method of design, the Paper Pavilion is made out of upcycled paper collected from the city itself. The art fair, in its fifth season, had a specific focus on pavilion designs that spotlighted sustainable construction , urbanization and recycling.  The pavilion was created by Denmark-based Japanese architects, PAN- PROJECTS. The architects wanted to combine sustainability with the appropriate amount of durability for their Paper Pavilion design, making sure to sacrifice the longevity of the structure whenever possible for the utilization of the materials that would only withstand through the duration of the three-day event. With this methodology in mind, PAN- PROJECTS decided to use paper as their primary building material due to its strength and recyclability . Additionally, the use of paper adds a certain aspect of uniqueness that sets the Paper Pavilion apart from similar projects at the Copenhagen Art Fair. Related: Mud and recycled materials make up this sustainable Kerala home The designers also took inspiration from the shape of a bagworm moth for the pavilion, taking into account especially the insect’s nesting habits of collecting local materials into a particular shape. The concept will hopefully encourage spectators to find a connection between the natural shape of the moth-inspired design to the urban environment that surrounds it. Moreover, the papers that helped create the paper pavilion were collected from around the city, so the connection between the city’s inhabitants to the artistic structure should provide additional insight. Following the Copenhagen Art Fair, the piece was relocated permanently to the entrance hall inside the Kunsthal Charlottenborg Museum in Copenhagen with slight redesign to fit the new location. The paper used in the piece can be recycled again after the structure comes down, as well. + Pan- Projects Via Archdaily Images via Pan- Projects

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Designers made this pavilion out of upcycled paper waste

From Woodstock to sustainability — a journey

August 13, 2019 by  
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It’s been 50 years since the iconic music festival, which took place on the cusp of the first Earth Day. What’s the connection?

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From Woodstock to sustainability — a journey

How Anheuser-Busch plans to sustainably ship cold beer around the USA

August 13, 2019 by  
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The leader of the beverage maker’s fleet decarbonization initiatives, Ingrid De Ryck, said the U.S. transportation industry is ready for a “breakthrough and innovative solution.”

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The drive to embed ‘planetary health’ impacts within corporate sustainability strategy

May 2, 2019 by  
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Although more companies are making the connection, few are addressing this collision strategically.

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The drive to embed ‘planetary health’ impacts within corporate sustainability strategy

What does net zero mean?

May 2, 2019 by  
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What does ‘net zero’ mean and what are the challenges — from technological to moral — to achieve it?

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What does net zero mean?

With no upfront costs, this innovative financing tool makes energy efficiency affordable to all

May 2, 2019 by  
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By rolling upgrade costs into monthly bills, utilities are helping customers save energy and money at the same time

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With no upfront costs, this innovative financing tool makes energy efficiency affordable to all

5G Wireless: Making the Reverse Logistics Connection

March 11, 2019 by  
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Editor’s note: Verizon sponsored this posting, asking Earth911 for a … The post 5G Wireless: Making the Reverse Logistics Connection appeared first on Earth911.com.

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5G Wireless: Making the Reverse Logistics Connection

Solar-powered multi-generational home offsets its energy consumption

June 5, 2018 by  
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Toronto-based architecture firm Williamson Williamson has completed a stunning home that embraces aging in place with a sustainably minded footprint. Located in the Ontario town of Hamilton, the House on Ancaster Creek comprises two distinct residences—one for the clients and the other for their elderly parents. The multigenerational home also reduces its energy demands with a 10KVa solar array, daylighting techniques, and low-energy fixtures throughout. Conceived as a high-density solution, the House on Ancaster Creek combines the functions of two separate homes into a single L-shaped entity. To accommodate any future mobility limitations, the architects placed the parents’ suite on the ground floor, where it’s joined with additional living spaces. Elder-friendly design considerations and features were also incorporated, such as the well-located drains and a master power switch that can immediately switch off any fixtures accidentally left on due to memory loss. The second floor master suite is accessed via a dramatic wood-clad spiral staircase that ascends from the first-floor living room located at the intersection of the two rectangular volumes. The main residence is positioned parallel to the creek and overlooks the views through floor-to-ceiling glazing. Full-height glazing is also used throughout the home to create a seamless connection with the outdoors. The material palette also reflects this connection: the ground floor of the home is clad in three-and-a-half-inch thick locally quarried Algonquin limestone while timber is used throughout. Related: Fabulous multigenerational home allows owners to comfortably age in place Despite the abundance of glazing, the home manages to keep energy demands to a minimum thanks to a highly insulated envelope and a high-performance triple-pane wood-frame window system with an average Uw of .77. Radiant heating is also used to complement a high-efficiency furnace, while LEDs and low-energy fixtures are installed throughout. A 37-module 9.8 kW solar array is installed on two of the flat roofs to offset energy consumption. + Williamson Williamson Via ArchDaily Images by Ben Rahn / A-Frame Inc.

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