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Six Millennial Change-Makers on Sustainability

1. Kim Ali’itasi Mcguire – Pacific Voyager

“For thousands of years we have grown our crops and have enjoyed the abundance of resources from our coral reefs. However, in the past decade we have seen the rapid decline of our reefs and crops due to high temperatures and rising sea levels. We need the rest of the world to see what we see, to understand the impacts that we feel. There is no more time for denial. We need this time to come up with solutions. We need to find ways to become resilient.

My love for my Samoan ancestry and my Pacific island community was my motivation to become a Pacific Voyager. My most recent voyage was to the 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney. The leaders of Kiribati, Palau, and Cook Islands were on board with us. Now we need the rest of the world’s leaders on board with us.

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Kim protects coral reefs in her native American Samoa, and has sailed across the Pacific Ocean twice on a traditional Polynesian va’a (boat) to raise awareness around climate change. A first hand witness of the dangers of climate change, Kim believes the time to act is now.

2. Boyan Slat – The Ocean Cleanup

I voyage and speak out because I care about what we are leaving for our future generations. I want them to know that I tried my best to preserve our paradise for them.”


The Pacific Voyagers journey to Sydney in 2014

At a TEDx talk in 2012, Boyan introduced a method to collect all the plastic in the top layers of world’s oceans. To date, the 20-year old has built a team of 100 members, completed a feasibility study and raised $2 million to fund the next phase of testing.

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Crew inspects a 40m long proof-of-concept barrier in Portugal, March 2014.


How the oceans can clean themselves: Boyan Slat at TEDxDelft


Watch the sequel to Boyan’s 2012 TEDx Talk

3. Samantha Bode – The Longest Straw

In 2014, Samantha successfully completed the 64 Day, 400 Mile backpacking journey. By depicting the epic journey that the city’s water must travel, she and her crew hope to bring home the importance of water conservation, appreciation, and development of local water sources for the city of Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Aqueduct, one of three major water sources in LA, began operation in November of 1913. Originally, it stretched from Owens Lake to LA, but as the City of Angels has grown, greatly expanding local water needs, the aqueduct has been twice extended, now stretching 338 miles and ending north of San Francisco and east of Yosemite National Park.

Nearly two years ago, Samantha and her producer Angela Jorgensen developed a deceptively simple concept: Bode would backpack the full length of the LA Aqueduct to help the people of Southern California draw a connection between the water that comes out of their taps and the source of that water, hundreds of miles away.

Nearly two years ago, Samantha and her producer Angela Jorgensen developed a deceptively simple concept: Bode would backpack the full length of the LA Aqueduct to help the people of Southern California draw a connection between the water that comes out of their taps and the source of that water, hundreds of miles away.


Trailer: The Longest Straw

4. Apurva Kothari – No Nasties

While in the U.S., he had read a lot about the agrarian crisis faced by Indian cotton farmers and the high number of farmer suicides in India.

In his research, he found there had been over 300,000 farmer suicides in the last 15 years – that’s more than one every 30 minutes!

When Apurva returned to India, he decided it was time to change career paths and started No Nasties. Apurva structured No Nasties around a mission to help the cotton farming community. Every product from No Nasties is 100% organic and 100% fair-trade. Organic reduces the input costs for farmers, while fair trade increases revenue. No Nasties pays a fair-trade premium that is used by the farmers for community development projects. This approach helps not just the individual farmer, but the entire village.

See the No Nasties clothing range

Apurva was in the United States for over 10 years working in Technology in New York. In 2011, he decided to move back to India and wanted to get involved with organic clothing.

Apurva was in the United States for over 10 years working in Technology in New York. In 2011, he decided to move back to India and wanted to get involved with organic clothing.

5. Lauren Singer – The Simply Co

“Going Zero Waste has been the absolute the best way to align my values (hope for a more balanced environment) with my day to day lifestyle (not producing any trash and living sustainably).

A big part of living a Zero Waste lifestyle for me has been making all of my own products from scratch, everything from toothpaste to cleaning products.

I was getting a lot of emails from my blog readers asking for places that they could buy products that were like the ones I was making since they didn’t have time to make them.

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Lauren shares her experience going Zero Waste on her blog and through speaking engagements. Inspired by the positive support she has received from her readers and viewers, she quit her job and started her own company, The Simply Co.

I started looking in stores and realized that while there were beauty product options out there, the same did not go for cleaning products. In fact, there is very little regulation in the cleaning product industry and what you think you are buying might not always be what you get.

This upset me. We, as consumers, have a right to safe, transparent, and effective cleaning products and it got me thinking – I had an opportunity to make these products for others. So I quit my government job as a sustainability manager and my company, The Simply Co., was born.

Since launching my company, I have gained a platform and ability to share how I live with a larger audience than I ever thought possible.


Lauren’s Tedx Talk: How I live a zero waste life

6. Ghidaq al-Nizar #zerowastecoffee

“We live in an era where waste is one of the biggest human problem. Zero waste coffee is a way to express my concern for environmental sustainability.

I use coffee waste – that is coffee grinds – to make my paintings, it’s all created from remnant coffee. The second big issue that we face is deforestation so I do not use paper but plates as canvas because I am aware of how paper contributes to deforestation.

I am very grateful because thanks to my work, I was chosen as one of the ambassadors of my country’s national organization to campaign for the conservation of the Sumatran tiger. My art is an example that anyone can show kindness to nature, for anything. I believe that art should be used not to escape from reality but to recreate the reality itself, a better reality!”

View Ghidaq’s #zerowastecoffee collection on Instagram and Facebook

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Ghidaq’s love for coffee and the planet inspired his #zerowastecoffee collection of art.

David Katz – The Plastic Bank

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The Plastic Bank incentivizes people in disadvantaged communities to collect plastic and swap it for goods – like access to solar-powered mobile phone charging stations, and soon, access to 3D printers. The Plastic Bank then recycles the collected plastic and sells it to brands as “Social Plastic.”


Watch the story of Social Plastic by The Plastic Bank

This article is a part of MSLGROUP’s sustainability report A Chance for Change: The Tipping Point for Sustainable Business. For more insights, check out MSLGROUP’s #BetheChance community and follow @BetheChance.

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