Meet the Storyfest finalists: 22nd Century

Finalist: Sydney Greene, Arizona State University

Story: Paper houses: How one company is revolutionizing the architecture industry

How did you hear about this idea?

I heard about this idea through a friend who covers the science and tech beat for my campus newspaper. 

How does the innovation in your piece move the planet forward?

Chris Frettoloso's innovation moves the planet forward, because he not only uses environmentally-friendly materials to build houses, but he also considers affordability when creating and implementing sustainable practices. When you're evaluating how the human population can integrate sustainable practices in their day-to-day lives, people often look at the costs behind it — will it help or hurt them financially? With the Betr-Block, houses built out of these paper blocks will save on energy costs, so more people have the accessibility to live sustainably and not have their pockets majorly impacted.

 

Finalist: Olivia Iannone, SUNY-ESF

Story: Food of the future: How an open-source computing project could revolutionize what we eat

How did you hear about this idea?

I stumbled on Caleb Harper's TED talk on OpenAg during a car ride a while back, and it really stuck with me. I wanted to expand on what he'd said, contextualize it with more facts, and perhaps help to get a wider variety of people excited about this concept.

How does the innovation in your piece move the planet forward?

The ideas posited by OpenAg are a powerful optimistic vision for the future of agriculture for a many of reasons, which fall into two broad categories. First off, they would eliminate much of the huge environmental burdens in the form of space, emissions, and transport that characterize commercial agriculture. Second, they would improve the quality and nutrition of produce and allow urban people to regain true agency over their food for the first time in generations.

 

Finalist: Sera Royal, The George Washington University

Story: Algae: Fuel for the future

How did you hear about this idea?

When I first started looking for ideas, I initially wanted to do something on the future of food. I looked up some articles about how scientists expect our diet to change in the future, because of global warming or human populations growing above what traditional farming could easily sustain, and algae was included as a potential future replacement for animal protein. I thought it was an interesting and new idea that I hadn't heard much about before, so I began to focus more on algae and discovered there are many amazing potential uses for it already in development — including as a biofuel. And all of these uses are environmentally friendly and could help decrease global warming, which makes it even more exciting.

How does the innovation in your piece move the planet forward?

This innovation of using algae in more effective ways moves the planet forward because it has the potential to create sustainable, accessible and environmentally friendly solutions to several of the biggest contributors to global warming. Algae biofuel could be used in existing gas tanks in everything from cars to airplanes, would decrease our reliance on natural gas and would have a nearly carbon-neutral footprint. Algae could also be grown next to highways or power plants to help clean up carbon dioxide emissions, and it can be used as a protein-rich food source (which also includes important vitamins like omega 3s) which could help decrease our reliance on the meat industry.

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