Some people march to make a change. Some people create colorful signs to promote equality. And some people, even in the midst of a staggering and seemingly impossible drama, create the solution and thus embody the change they desire so desperately to see.

These individuals stare Goliath in the face and don’t run.

Boyan Slat is one of these people.

Who They Are

Slat, who started the non-profit organization the Ocean Cleanup at just 18 years of age, is making waves in the environment by employing his unique and effective method of ocean cleanup. The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit that seeks to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. And by utilizing the ocean currents to their advantage, the Ocean Cleanup’s passive drifting system is estimated to clean up half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 5 years.

The Ocean Cleanup is developing the first practical method to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. Every year, millions of tons of plastic enter the ocean every year. Once there, much of the trash drifts into large systems of circulating currents called gyres. Here, the plastic begins to break down and can easily be mistaken for food by marine life. The thing is, going after the plastic with vessels and nets would extremely costly, time-consuming, and labor-intensive. In fact, according to the United Nations, plastic pollution is estimated to have financial damage of 13 billion USD. Here’s where the genius of Slat comes in.

How They Do It

The Ocean Cleanup is developing a passive system that moves with the ocean currents to catch the plastic. According to the Ocean Cleanup, their passive system is comprised of a floater with a solid screen underneath, concentrating the debris and leading it to a collection system. The system is slowed down by a drift anchor suspended at an approximate depth of 600 meters, making the system move slower than the plastic and therefore catching it.

Boyan Slat, along with everyone at the Ocean Cleanup, is the prime example of someone developing the changes they want to see. The Ocean Cleanup is not only excellent and vital for environmental health, but it speaks of a new mindset. A mindset that includes the  individual taking responsibility upon themselves and determining to transcend limitations and create a better self, and in turn a better world.