Day 36: Boyan Slat

Ocean CleanupBoyan Slat , born 27 July 1994, is a Dutch inventor, entrepreneur and aerospace engineering student who works on methods of cleaning plastic waste from the oceans. He designed a passive system for concentrating and catching plastic debris driven by ocean currents. He established The Ocean Cleanup, a foundation to further develop and eventually implement the technology that would drastically reduce the amount of time it would take to clean up all the plastic in the ocean. Initially, there was little interest but now he has attracted thousands of volunteers and $2M of funding for pilot installations. In November 2014, he won the Champions of the Earth award of the United Nations Environment Programme.

The goal is to fuel the world’s fight against oceanic plastic pollution by initiating the largest cleanup in history. The Ocean Cleanup develops technologies to extract, prevent and intercept plastic pollution. Instead of going after the plastic, Boyan devised a system though which, driven by the ocean currents, the plastic would concentrate itself, reducing the theoretical cleanup time from a millennia to mere years.  This innovation has received notice from Fast Company, and was named one of the top 25 inventions of 2015 by Time Magazine.

Take a moment today to reflect on these wise words from this remarkable young man:

“Fix this planet, before we fix another one”

You can see Boyan’s Ted Talk about The Ocean Cleanup here.



Day 10: Prince Ea

Prince Ea is a poet, activist, speaker, director, and content creator who has touched the hearts, minds and souls of millions of people worldwide. He was born as Richard Williams in 1988 in St. Louis and took the stage name Prince EA when he graduated from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with a degree in Anthropology and Latin honors. “Prince Ea” comes from Sumerian mythology meaning “Prince of the Earth”. In 2008, he released the mixtape “the Adolescence” as a free download. A few days later, he recorded an Prince Eaamateur rap video that won a VIBE Verses award giving him $5000 in music equipment and a full-page article in VIBE Magazine. He proceeded to win other competitions and awards. In 2009, upset by the state of the music industry, Prince Ea, started a movement named “Make ‘SMART’ Cool” (SMART is an acronym for “Sophisticating Minds And Revolutionizing Thought”). This movement attempts to “promote intelligence to everyone, everywhere and integrate it with hip-hop. To create and nurture, without discrimination or preference, a community of free-thinking individuals under the singular purpose of promoting the ideals of education, intelligence, unity and creativity throughout the world at large.”  A successful underground clothing line with increasing support from artists has been developed as well.  By creating positive, inspirational and thought provoking content, Prince has accumulated over 300 million views on the Facebook and YouTube platforms alone.

Today, Prince Ea consistently speaks at conferences and gives lectures to high school/university students nationwide, on the topics of self-development, education, living your passion and the importance of being motivated and engaged in the classroom. He has continued to produce music and perform in major venues. By creating positive, inspirational and thought provoking content, Prince has accumulated over 300 million views on the Facebook and YouTube platforms alone. His productions promote awareness and call for change on everything from race relations to protecting the environment (such as with this video).

Prince’s primary mission is to allow the grace of God/Universe to work through him creating content that spreads awareness, excites, entertains and ultimately galvanizes listeners/viewers to recognize the power, peace and equanimity within themselves. He believes that the only way to change the world is to change the individual.

For today, reflect on these words: “Where there is division, there is conflict and conflict starts wars; therefore, every war starts with labels…but deep down inside, we were meant to connect.”

And, if you have time, watch this Prince Ea production from which these words come: “I am NOT Black, You are NOT White.”

Day 29: The Evangelical Environmental Network

The Evangelical Environmental Network was founded in 1993 as “a ministry dedicated to the care of God’s creation” according to their website. It is an organizations that seeks to equip, inspire, disciple, and mobilize God’s people in their effort to care for God’s creation. “We believe that creation care is truly a matter of life and that pollution harms the vulnerable, especially children and the unborn. We believe the body of Christ should by an example by their work and integrity of what God’s people can do in the world to solve some of the great challenges of our time.” The EEN is made up of Evangelical pastors, educators and environmental activists. Their work straddles the toxic and volatile political divide that seeps deeply beyond politics and into our culture. They represent an example of how those of us who let our own inclinations to work with “like-minded” people on some issues (such as gay marriage, or pro-life/pro-choice) perhaps miss an opportunity to develop strong allies on other issues such as climate change. It is groups like EEN that can often find themselves in “no-man’s land” – not being warmly embraced in either political camp – but this is where they may have the greatest impact.


For today, consider the words of Rev. Jim Ball, PhD, Vice-President of EEN: “It’s time to be great again by overcoming global warming.  America can rise to this challenge, because that’s who we are: fair-minded, freedom-loving people who live to create a brighter future.”

Day 8: Wangari Mathai

Wangari Mathai (1940-2011) was a Kenyan environmentalist and political activist.  In the 1970’s, she founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental NGO focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation and women’s rights. In addition to teaching and being involved in environmental and human rights, she was involved in Kenyan politics, often at great risk and suffering economic consequences, personal attacks and imprisonment. Despite this, she persisted, becoming a voice for free and fair elections. For her work, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.


In honor of her spirit, take a moment today to reflect on her words: “In a few decades, the relationship between the environment, resource and conflict may seem almost as obvious as the connection we see today between human rights, democracy and peace.”

Day 5: RonDell Pooler

Tonight at William Penn House, we are honoring a Peacemaker within our midst at our 3rd Annual “Creating the Peaceable Kingdom” event. RonDell Pooler is an inspiring man with a powerful story of redemption and service. As a youth, he got into a lot of trouble that ultimately led him to serve 6 years in prison. Rather than become a negative statistic, this was a wake-up call for RonDell. Upon leaving prison, he relocated from Norfolk, VA to Washington DC. He started looking for work and ended up enrolled in a Green Job Corps program, learning about environmental stewardship through Washington Parks and People. He eventually worked his way up to volunteer coordinator and now oversees the Green Jobs program. He is a model for others to not give up. He sees that it is not enough to get a job, however, but to also take care of the environment, and that the future holds many opportunities in this area. His work takes place in many of the under-served communities in Washington DC. He is a man of few words, but his actions speak volumes as he works to transform communities he once “helped destroy”.  See more about his story here.


RonDell says “I feel I’m obligated to help clean any neighborhood because I helped destroy not only the neighborhood that I used to live in, but other people’s neighborhoods.” In that spirit, for today, think about how we all may be impacting those around us in ways we may not be aware of.