For the naturalist minded teen,
Again, during Engineers Week, how do we get teens thinking STEM while looking around their everyday world? The concern over ecology and getting more “green”, i.e. more sustainable is one such opportunity. While plastics have been vilified for a number of years, bioplastics has been evolving and is getting more prevalent over time. Using corn or sugar cane to manufacture biopolymers, aka bioplastics, is gaining momentum. Some feel at the cost of stressing an already overstressed food supply system. Corn is already used for human consumption, animal consumption, biofuels to reduce use of oil based fuels, and now bioplastics. However, does the supply of food crops take a hit when further adding possible uses? Will it create the wrong effect by increasing land use, increasing chemical enhancers trying to bolster harvest yields?
We need a constant supply of new thinkers looking for ways to take a good idea, and expand on it without stressing an already stressed food chain issue. Showing teens that are interested in the world and its ecology how they can follow an educational path allowing them to contribute to a solution may be a challenge that many will engage.
Read another article about National Engineers Week