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Bright and undaunted teenagers may just save us yet! Fionn Ferriera had the ingenious idea to use magnets to filter microplastics from water and he found that when he did, they removed at least 85%. Using a magnetic liquid called ferrofluid, which adheres to plastic and then is attracted to the magnets and removed from the water. He conducted thousands of tests and found that his method proved highly reliable. The idea came to him when he was walking along the shore near his home and he saw plastic pieces stuck to oil and he realized that he needed to find something that the tiny bits of plastic (too small to be screened out of water) would adhere to before they flow from streams into the ocean.
Fionn is 18 years old and grew up in Ballydehob in West Cork, Ireland and as the overall winner this year of the annual science competition open to students all around the world between the ages of 13 and 18 he took home a $50,000 prize to pay for further education. “I look forward to applying my findings and contributing towards a solution in tackling microplastics in our oceans worldwide,” he told Irish Times.
Why This Matters: Millions of people around the world — including Americans — are already suffering due to climate change and it has created a refugee crisis. According to the proposal’s proponents, since 2009, a climate-related disaster has displaced about one person every second due to severe weather events, famine, drought, and rising sea levels, and other climate impacts. The United Nations believes that 22.5 million people worldwide have been displaced due to climate change since 2009 and that number could rise to 200 million forcibly displaced people by 2050. We will be confronted with this problem regardless of whether Congress passes a law allowing the government to deal with it directly.
Military dogs are often homeless once they are retired from service. And worse, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) won’t pay for veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) to adopt them or other dogs as service dogs. Congressman John Rutherford of Florida has introduced a bill — the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers (PAWS) Act of 2019 to provide funding to veterans diagnosed with PTS who would like to obtain a service dog.
Why This Matters: It would be a real win-win to see some of these dogs– or other dogs in need of homes — go to veterans who are suffering from PTS as an alternative or supplement to other treatments.