Gallery: 8 Inspiring Green Kids and Their Eco-Innovations


As kids, most of us spent our days playing hopscotch, toying with action figures, maneuvering Tetris blocks, and wrestling with Donkey Kong. Not these creative tykes, however! These eight amazingly innovative kids and adolescents are inventing up a storm — whether for their own personal kicks (Hibiki Kono’s wall-scaling backpack), to help their community (Kelydra Welcker’s water-filtration method), or to save the world (Javier Fernández-Han’s algae-driven super-system). Need some inspiration today? Click through our slideshow of amazing kid inventors for a look at the creative solutions the next generation is conjuring up for this one.

BEN GULAK + JASON MORROW – Built the Tango Electric Motorcycle

Ontario teenagers Ben Gulak and Jason Morrow, who were 18 in 2007, built a Segway-inspired electric motorcycle with a difference: It has no hand-steering controls. Dubbed the “Tango,” the electric vehicle moves forward, right, or left, depending on its rider’s body movements.

MAX WALLACK- Created the Home Dome

PBS Kids’ Design Squad found a winner in Max Wallack, then 12, when he invented the “Home Dome” for its Trash to Treasure competition. Composed of plastic bags filled with Styrofoam packing peanuts, the yurt-shaped structure was designed to offer temporary shelter for homeless people and disaster victims, while relieving landfills of non-biodegradable waste.

DANIEL BURD – Sped up Plastic Decomposition

Plastic isn’t fantastic for Daniel Burd, a 16-year-old student in Canada who found a way to use microbes to degrade plastic bags in as little as three months. Burd, whose project won the top prize at the 2008 Canada-Wide Science Fair in Ottawa, found that necessity invention. “Almost every week I have to do chores and when I open the closet door, I have this avalanche of plastic bags falling on top of me,” he said. “One day, I got tired of it and I wanted to know what other people are doing with these plastic bags.”

ELIZABETH RINTELS – Invented the Water Watcher

In 2008, Elizabeth Rintels, then 12, won the grand prize in By Kids For Kids’ Going Green Challenge with a smart device that measures and monitors water use in the shower. Rintel’s gadget, which can be attached to any faucet, lights up and beeps with every half-gallon of water that gushes forth.

KELYDRA WELCKER – Created a Water Filtration System

Kelydra Welcker was only in 7th grade when she figured out a simple test for ammonium perfluorooctanoate, a chemical that was polluting the local waters of the Ohio River where she lived, just 7 miles downstream from a DuPont plant. Then, operating out of a trailer behind her house, Welcker devised a way to remove the Teflon surfactant from the water by combining granular activated carbon and a pair of electrodes. With some help from the local utility company and DuPont, Welcker, now in college, hopes to implement her desktop unit on a community-wide scale.

HIBIKI “SPIDER BOY” KONO – Invented a Wall-Climbing Backpack

Hibiki Kono may not have Spiderman’s web-slinging powers, but the 13-year-old British schoolboy can scale walls almost as well. His not-so-secret: A high-tech “backpack” that harnesses the suction power of two recycled vacuum cleaners—perfect, Kono says, for your friendly neighborhood window washer.

JAVIER FERNANDEZ-HAN – Designed the Versatile System

Javier Fernández-Han was only 9 when he decided he wanted to design for the other 90 percent. Several years later, Fernandez-Han devised the Versatile System, a mix of new and existing technology that uses algae to treat waste, produces methane and bio-oil as fuel, grows food, and traps greenhouse gases.

To see more inspiring eco images, check out my album on


or your inhabitat account below


  1. rkr October 8, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Look up – 2009-2010 competition was epic… read the essays!

  2. chrismerwin August 13, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Man, if I would have known that not only would wall climbing jet packs be part of the future but that they would be GREEN too! Maybe things aren’t so scary afterall.

  3. 8 Kids Who Will Inspire... August 7, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    […] imagination?! But think again. While video games and Facebook may reign supreme for some, there are more than a handful of kids out there who’d rather put their minds to a more inspired use in their free time. As proof of […]

  4. Bridgette Meinhold August 4, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    I had genius ideas when I was a kid – just didn’t have the shop skills to make it happen. Bring back shop class!!

  5. greenrainbow August 4, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    I will forward this post on whenever I hear some grandpa talking about how the future generations are lazy! Look what these kids have done with the technology they’ve grown up around. Seriously incredible!

  6. Ariel Schwartz August 4, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    way to make me feel inadequate!

  7. jamesbeth August 4, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Amazing designers getting an early start! Sustainability in designs is one of the most tricky aspects of a good design–kudos to kids for starting their careers on the right foot! SO impressive!

  8. Edward Van Valen August 4, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    These kids show how bright the future will be… what will they think of next!

  9. jennsmith August 4, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Kids these days….So smart and eco-conscious!

  10. Rebecca Paul August 4, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    How inspiring! It’s such a relief to know that future generations have a head start on what we are just now getting the hang of.

  11. Jasmin Malik Chua August 4, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    I’m going to print this out for my toddler…she better start cracking!

  12. Mike Chino August 4, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Incredible inventions! It’s great to see that the spirit of eco innovation is alive and well in today’s youth!

  13. Yuka Yoneda August 4, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Wow, they’ve done more in their so-far short lives that I’ve done in 27 years!!!

  14. Diane Pham August 4, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Man, amazing imagination and talent! Wish I was that cool when I was a kid!

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home