At the ripe old age of 16, in 2012, Boyan Slat was delivering a TEDx talk about a system he has developed which uses circulating currents to filter out plastic from oceans.
He had been scuba diving in Greece the previous year where he had witnessed more plastic than fish floating around — rather than being put off, he processed his grief into a productive force and started taking extremely proactive action against oceanic plastic pollution.
The qualities of a Natural Wisdom Leader I see in him are forward planning, unrelenting focus, energetic hygiene and of course, passion. Slat thrives off problem solving and this is a quality he holds dear in co-workers. He has brought people together and, like a true NWL, empowered them to actualise a simple but enormous ambition: to rid the worlds oceans of plastic using super advanced technology. He is the first to admit the sheer amount of effort the project will take, but he has recruited a skilled crew who share his burning passion.
After discontinuing his Aerospace Engineering studies in 2013, Slat founded The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit entity which has since raised over $32 million in donations. Slat’s organisation has made the very near future one in which technology and nature live symbiotically, synergistically even.
“Technology is the most potent agent of change. It is an amplifier of our human capabilities”, Slat wrote in The Economist. “Whereas other change-agents rely on reshuffling the existing building blocks of society, technological innovation creates entirely new ones, expanding our problem-solving toolbox.”
As of 8th September 2018, System 001 has been navigating its way to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and by 2020 the full-scale deployment will be in action as components are progressively added to System 001.
I feel inspired in ways that words prove clumsy to articulate. I’ve been looking at how to make life plastic free and how to live a zero-waste life which I’m saving for another blog. It’s surprisingly easy!
For now, sending the deepest gratitude to Boyan Slat and his team.