How STEM Can Save our Planet

Audience: Middle Schoolers


People across the world march to protest for and raise awareness about climate change.


Imagine it’s the year 2050: school has ended for the year and summer has just begun.


You're excitedyour parents promised they would surprise you and take you somewhere new. Disneyland, Seaworld, Six Flags... what could it be? You eagerly rush home, only to see your suitcase already packed. You’re headed for Mars.


With rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), continuous pollution, and overuse of natural resources, this may become a future reality. A study conducted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) concluded that humans are slowly pushing themselves to extinction due to the rapid rate at which natural resources are being depleted, along with the vast amounts of CO2 in the air. Many well-trusted scientists predict that the human race will have to populate another planet within the next 30 years in order to survive. This issue will arise if the Earth continues to use its natural resources at the rate it uses them today while also emitting equal amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.


Although this may seem scary, there is a solution!


There are hundreds of companies and organizations worldwide dedicated to help save our planet. Some of these organizations have very promising solutions for our issue. One promising solution is called the Far Away Project. It is proposed by Project Vesta, whose goal is to lower CO2 levels in the atmosphere by spreading ground-up olivine (cheap, green, sand-like material) across beaches. The ocean waves break down this material, causing a chemical reaction to occur. This allows the olivine to store the carbon dioxide, pulled from the atmosphere, into the shells and skeletons of mollusks (invertebrates such as snails and slugs). According to Eric Matzner, the Cofounder of Project Vesta, “If we spread olivine over 2% of the world’s shelf sea, then that will be enough to capture 100% of human emissions.” With a positive attitude and the determination to make a change, it is easy to join the fight to save our planet—all you need is to get involved in STEM!



Active teens and young adults come together to protest at the annual Climate Strike.


While many in-person clubs and activities are unavailable for the time being due to the pandemic, there are still many climate change organizations in your local community that you can join! If you would like to dive even further into the world of STEM, a recommendation would be to take some science and math-related classes. Dozens of free classes are offered through online programs such as Harvard EdX or Khan Academy. The world of STEM is constantly evolving. And, in order for it to continue growing, we need people like you!


Bibliography

Project Vesta , 2019, projectvesta.org/.


Townsend , Mark, and Jason Burke. “ UK News Earth 'Will Expire by 2050'.” The Guardian, 2002, www.theguardian.com/uk/2002/jul/07/research.waste#:~:text=Earth's%20population%20will%20be%20forced,a%20report%20out%20this%20week.




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