The nearly seventy-four million children growing up as the next generation will begin to see a more urgent need for change. Many of these kids have already seen their parents struggle from the “Great Recession”. In fact, they’ve seen how large companies and most importantly Banks can teeter on financial ruin. They’ve witnessed how corruption costs taxpayers dearly and war often plays out on television screens around the globe.
Generation Z in a nutshell
Two studies have shown Generation Z is the kind of kid every parent hopes to raise. The first study done by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found overall that the people in this demographic are more conservative. They’re more responsible than Millennials with fewer teen pregnancies, fewer drugs and alcohol problems. Plus they’re more likely to finish high school on time.
Another study conducted in 2019 by the Pew Research Center also collected opinions from our newest generation. The sentiment and their findings aren’t that surprising. It found seventy percent believe the government should put more effort into solving serious problems facing the nation today.
Global Call For Action
The need for government intervention in issues such as climate change, recycling, and pollution has steadily increased through generations. But, this need has reached a fever pitch with the climate crisis we now face today.
In an attempt to get leaders attention schoolchildren have created a group called Friday’s For Futures. By March 2019, 1.6 million kids have taken part in a school strike every Friday in over seven continents. They’re leader Greta Thunberg has asked International Leaders to stop talking about goals and start taking action!
What kind of action are they asking for? The issue of growing greenhouse gas has warmed the atmosphere. Consequently, CO2 has driven temperatures to a breaking point. If it continues on growing this way life will be in peril.
The UN Climate change report states the world has twelve years to change our patterns of consumption!
Dirty Energy in our homes
Therefore, we’ve got a small window to transition growth in a clean and sustainable way. We’ve got to figure out how to change fast! If we can do it we may have a better chance to continue life uninterrupted. Wildfires, droughts, floods, and rising sea levels have disrupted communities and cost billions of dollars.
One of the problems that must be solved is our insatiable need for batteries. In the USA alone, three billion batteries sell annually! So, all the heavy metals are destined to contaminate the environment. Who throws their batteries away? Yup, I’ve done it too!
My son who also falls into Generation Z is four years old and can wear out batteries in a matter of hours. We go through over a hundred and fifty dollars each year. Double or triple that number if a household has two or three battery hungry kids!
My boy can point out a Toy Store while moving 60 km’s an hour, strapped into a four-point harness. He can barely crane his neck enough to see out the window! Yet, his little internal compass spins if he comes anywhere close to a known toy store.
It would be a very different world if there were no batteries to supply the insatiable hunger for battery operated toys! The nagging appeals for battery operated toys can be tiring. Their unending quest to acquire is relentless and every parent eventually gives in to the pressure!
Generation Z to the rescue!
What the world finally needs are revolutionary geniuses which have the desire to make corporations and leaders accountable. One person has dedicated her academic life to make the battery industry more efficient and environmentally friendly.
Meghana Bollimpalli is an eighth grader who has invented a solution. She has developed a Supercapacitor using tea leaves and molasses. A supercapacitor is an electronic device. They store massive amounts of electrical energy and also have the potential to give us clean energy!
This invention earned her second place at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair last October. The Science behind the supercapacitor has been around for almost seventy years and is still in its market infancy as it claims only a small niche in comparison to battery sales.
This alternative could see the ability to recharge a single cell up to thirty thousand times without showing signs of aging. This invention is so brilliant for more than one reason!
Furthermore, what would happen if one day the raw materials vanish? The supply will begin to dwindle. Consequently, this would cost consumers a fortune to own a single battery!
The Energizer Holding’s Annual Report states,
“Our business is vulnerable to the availability of raw materials.”
The Energizer company relies on only a few raw materials suppliers and sometimes only one.
” There are concerns about supply disruptions due to shortages in critical materials.”
Energizer is the leading brand for Alkaline batteries sales and it’s an industry-wide issue as raw materials are finite.
Moreover, the volatility in production costs, including raw material prices, will inevitably make the cost of batteries rise. As parents, we have to use another approach for the sake of our wallets and also for the environment.
Time for Change
What can the consumer do now before it’s too late? Single-use batteries shouldn’t even exist if there is technology out there that allows one to charge them again. We’re continually buying into the single-use products over and over again!
Let’s kick the habit and start using rechargeable batteries until we can buy supercapacitors. Rechargeable batteries currently have a life span of three to five years.
If every family switched they’ll save hundreds of dollars a year and reduce the pressure on companies to keep up with demand thus maintaining a more sustainable future.
What do you do with your batteries? Do you save them or throw them away? We can’t recycle them in our regular blue bins. So, do you save them until there’s enough to make the drive to the recycling depot? I admit I’ve thrown them away. I’ll bet the majority have ended up in the landfill.
Have no fear! Generation is shining brightly in the cause to save the world from Climate change. The student researchers at the University of Central Florida have finally created a supercapacitor battery prototype. People like them and Meghana Bollimpalli together will help facilitate the growth of an industry! An industry we hope will benefit the world for generations to come!
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