Four Real-World Solutions to Real-World Problems

Every day, all over the world, ordinary people are dreaming up solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing our planet. From technologies such as LifeStraw (a small water filtration device) to programs like American Forests’ Global ReLeaf Program (a tree re-planting program) – we’re constantly coming up with ideas to mitigate human impact on our planet. Here are a few of our favorite solutions to this year’s World of 7 Billion contest challenges:

Sustainable Solution to Deforestation

  • AFR100 – Hot off the heels of the COP15 conference in Paris, a handful of African states are launching an initiative, the African Forest Landscape Initiative, to restore 100 million hectares (roughly 386,000 square miles) of degraded forest on the continent by 2030. Land restoration efforts include planting trees to restore forests, stopping soil erosion and improving soil health through practices such as agroforestry and silvopasture. According to the World Resources Institute, if these reforestation and conservation commitments are implemented, over a third of the continent’s emissions or 0.25% of global emissions would be reduced over the next decade.

Sustainable Solutions to Public Health

  • LifeStraw – This small straw-like filter uses innovative technology to redefine water filtration in parts of the world with limited access to safe drinking water. The straw has the capacity to filter out virtually all of the microbiological contaminants that make water unsafe to drink, helping to reduce the prevalence of waterborne illnesses.
  • WaterCredit – A program developed by that helps some of the world’s poorest people finance water connections and toilets via microloans. According to the World Health Organization, water, sanitation and hygiene related disease kills nearly 1 million people each year.

Sustainable Solution to Water Scarcity

  • City of Flagstaff Water Conservation – The city of Flagstaff, AZ has reclaimed water both figuratively and literally. Flagstaff produces high quality reclaimed water that helps offset the use of drinking water. The city’s reclaimed water is closely regulated with uses ranging from irrigation of parks and golf courses to snow making. Flagstaff uses over 2,000 acre-feet of reclaimed water each year – which is impressive when you consider that 1 acre-foot of potable (drinking) water typically serves 4 homes in Flagstaff for one year. To make things even better, the two reclamation plants in town are powered by solar energy!

Feeling inspired by all the amazing work taking place around the globe? Enter the World of 7 Billion student video contest (by February 25th) for a chance to have your solution viewed by millions! Winning videos will be featured on our website by May 9th and shared through various online and traditional media outlets.