Apr 2nd, 2018, 03:05 PM

Times are Changing

By Sophia Foerster
Image Credit: GoodFreePhotos/ Public Domain
Five underrated people changing the world.

Everyone has seen videos or posts shared on Facebook of people doing good deeds. Sometimes, they inspire people around the world to do the same. But some of Earth's most incredible people aren't getting the same news coverage as Hollywood Celebrities. In fact, you probably don't know anything about the people changing the world you're living in right now. Here are the top five groups changing the world and why you need to know their names:


1. Ron Finley 

The Ron Finley Project focuses on spreading horticulture to urban areas. It started in 2010 when Finley began growing vegetables next to the curb of his front yard in LA. From there, he began planting in abandoned strips of earth alongside busy streets without the city's consent, yet fought and won the right to continue. His website states his goal as: "Determined to change South Los Angeles from food desert to food forest, he wants his actions to be educational, inspiring, and nutritious. He wants kids to grow up with the option of healthy food, instead of fried, fattening staples. He wants to sweep up and transform his street, his hood, the city of LA and communities everywhere." The American Nutrition Association defines "food deserts" as an area that is particularly lacking in fresh fruits and vegetables and is usually an impoverished area. This leads to people only having access to fast-food and junk food which leads to obesity and health issues in the United States. 


2. JR

You may have seen his art roaming around Instagram, but didn't know what exactly he's doing. He's a French photographer who launched his career after he accidentally found a camera on the metro. His work has always been made with the idea of representation of, quite literally, everyone. From Paris to Middle-Eastern walls, to Favelas in Brazil, his website shows the importance of his portraits by saying: "People who often live with the bare minimum discover something absolutely unnecessary. And they don't just see it, they make it. Some elderly women become models for a day; some kids turn artists for a week. In that Art scene, there is no stage to separate the actors from the spectators." There are 134,140 people worldwide already participating in JR's work, add on to that number by following JR here.


3. Thorn

This organization was co-founded by Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore in 2012, and while both of these names are well-known, their efforts in human right activism are going unnoticed. Thorn was created in hopes of combating the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children. They focus on innovating technologies to expose online predators who hide online. According to Thorn's 2017 impact report, they have disrupted and reported over 6,000 online contributors to the exploitation of children and worked with law enforcement to investigate further. By doing this, they have identified  5,894 child sex trafficking victims. Currently, over 15 million adolescent girls and boys have experienced sexual exploitation or forced sex in their lifetime according to UNICEF. Want to contribute to the movement's cause? Donate or volunteer to help fight for children's rights to a good life here.


4. Eric Klarenbeek and Maartie Dros

These two Dutch designers are revolutionizing the world of plastic. By taking algae plant and a 3D printer, they have been able to recreate ordinary everyday items from a sustainable and biodegradable plastic substitute. By switching from plastic to algae, it could entirely reduce the creation of plastic home goods made from burning fossil fuels like oil. In an interview with Dezeen.com, Klarenbeek said: "Our idea is that in the future there will be a shop on every street corner where you can 'bake' organic raw materials, just like fresh bread." 


5. 4Ocean

In hopes of preserving the world's oceans, this organization took a hands-on approach to solving the issue of trash pollution. Their website states that "4Ocean is now a global movement that allows anyone from anywhere to join the team and help in ocean trash removal efforts worldwide." In just 2017 alone, they removed more than 250,000 pounds (113,398.092 kilos) of trash from the ocean floor. 4Ocean raises money by selling bracelets made from recycled materials and putting that profit directly into funding their volunteer initiatives. A study conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that 88% of the Oceans' surface water is polluted by plastic debris. This means that wildlife is affected and animals are at risk of choking and suffocating from our waste. For each bracelet bought here, there will be a pound of trash removed from the ocean! Or if volunteering hands-on is more your style, get involved here and spread the movement.