Business and philanthropic ideas for change

Planting trees using hot air balloons and para gliders

Okay, this is another thing I haven’t seen before. I came across this video from the Instagram of Leonardo Dicaprio on which is shown how Kenyans are replanting vanishing forests in an extraordinary way. Read on if you want to learn more about planting trees in Kenya.

Seeds eaten by animals and insects

Kenya deals with a major problem according to their forest: there are not enough trees. That’s why the Kenyan government is currently working with public and private stakeholders to reach their target of 10% tree cover for the country. That’s an improvement since Kenya’s total land area is covered with only 6.2 % trees. But reaching that isn’t that simple. Many insects and animals block the way for trees to grow, because they eat the seeds before they germinate.

That’s why the founder of the seed balls designed a small, black marble-sized pellet: a single tree seed coated in a charcoal shell. The shell is there to stop it from being eaten by insects and animals. Once the rains come, the water will wash away the coating and the seeds will germinate.

In this article of the BBC you can read Teddy saying: “One seedball has the potential to grow another million trees because if it becomes a mother tree in one area that’s been over-exploited and very degraded, it will start re-seeding some of these places”.

Kenyans are replanting vanishing forests. They are planting trees in Kenya by dropping charcoal-coated tree seed balls on to the ground and allowed to take root.

Paragliding, hot air balloons and other adventurous sports

But how to replant a whole country with those tree seeds… It would be a mammoth task.

Teddy says: “Aeroplanes and helicopters are probably the only way to get the job done quickly and in this day and age with GPS guidance and precision technology you can get things to exactly where you need to: so the right seed in the right place, at the right time”.

He has persuaded a number of helicopter charter companies to keep bags of seedballs under the seats so passengers can join the push to reforest Kenya.

His own fingers are black from throwing seedballs out of the open door of a helicopter. “We just planted 20,000 tree seeds in less than 20 minutes,” he smiles. “It means that you can lower the cost of tree planting incredibly compared to the traditional method of digging holes and transporting seedlings.”

It is possible to plant a thousand tree seeds a minute using aerial seeding by helicopter.


For sure, planting trees in Kenya is bitter necessity and the introduction of the seedball is more than inventive. But will it work? I’m curious what you think of this. You think these seed balls can solve Kenya’s deforestation crisis?

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Business and philanthropic ideas for change

How this vaccins cooler is going to save people’s lives

Keeping vaccines cold when you’re delivering them to the most remote places on earth is a tough problem. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation came with quite a creative and innovative solution for that problem, I must say. Hang on with me for the Indigo Cooler.

Keeping vaccines cold

It all started with Papa Blandine Mwey, who worked as a vaccinator in Congo for over a decade. The story goes that she travelled on foot to villages all over the region so she could vaccinate kids who live too far from a health clinic to make the trip themselves as its nearly 5,100 miles away.

The big challenge for her and the health clinics in this situation is to keep these vaccins in the right temperature range through each step of the “cold chain”. Unfortunately many health clinics where vaccinators like Blandine pick up the vaccins, are in areas with frequent power outages or no electrical grid at all. But even if the vaccins survive the clinic, they still need to make it to the children. Which is also a challenge since ice-lined coolers start tot melt soon.

Blandine and Bill Gates meet each other.

No ice, no batteries and no power

So a couple of years ago Bill Gates and his foundation requested some inventors of Global Good to change the game for vaccinators like Blandine. In 2015 the inventors came up with two game changers: de MetaFridge and the Indigo cooler. Both keep vaccines at the right temperature for at least five days with no ice, no batteries, and no power required during cooling. Isn’t that amazing? Here’s Bill Gates explaining:

What causes the magic

It may sound counter intuitive, but the vaccins cooler needs heat before you can use it. When exposed to a heat source, water inside its walls evaporates and moves into a separate compartment. It can then sit on a shelf for months after heating, ready for use. All of this is caused by two important inventions.

The first is the MetaFridge. Although it looks like a regular refrigerator, MetaFridge has a hidden superpower: it keeps vaccines cold without power for at least five days. The electrical components are designed to keep working through power surges and brown-outs. During extended outages, an easy-to-read screen tells you how much longer it can stay cool without power so health workers know when to run a generator or move vaccines elsewhere. And if the fridge stops working properly, it transmits data remotely to a service team so they can fix it before vaccines are at risk of spoiling.

The other innovation Global Good invented is the Indigo cooler, which is the device you see Blandine using in the video above. It keeps vaccines at the right temperature for at least five days with no ice, no batteries, and no power required during cooling.

Embed from Getty Images

Last note

The Indigo cooler is in the field trial phase. It’s still early, but the data suggests that the Indigo is allowing vaccinators to reach four times as many places as they could with the old ice-based coolers. That’s a big deal, and I’m excited to learn more.

For sure I’m always picky to what kind of philantropic activities my money goes but this idea of the Indigo cooler really convinced me to do some good. If you like to do that yourself as well, go to their user-friendly website. You also can think about it first, ofcourse. The amounts of money start with 10 dollar, so it’s for every budget.

I hope MetaFridge and the Indigo cooler inspire other inventors to find creative solutions like this. Tell me if you already heard of this and what you think of this invention in the comment section below.

Find some other quirky and inventive ideas that thrive social change in philanthrophy and business in this section.

Business and philanthropic ideas for change

How Mr. Trash Wheel is going to fight plastic pollution

Lately I’ve found another great business idea. Mr. Trash Wheel from Baltimore is there to fight plastic pollution. Here’s how.

Plastic not so fantastic

I was reading some articles about plastic pollution and how the plastic soup is affecting our species. Although I already had read a lot about it, it still surprises me how big the plastic soup is. It’s just insane. Look for example at this island in the North Pacific. It’s almost made of plastic!

Click “options” for subtitles!

Or watch Henderson Island. They found 414 million pieces of plastic over there. If you’re interested in the study who came to conclude this, head over to their website.

Mr. Trash Wheel is going to eat it ALL

It’s clear that there’s a need for inventions and business ideas to fight plastic pollution. For sure we need more ideas like the Mr. Trash Wheel. It’s the one above. It still is an experiment, but the idea is simple. Place this machine on a spot where the plastic pollution from the city all comes together and Mr. Trash Wheel will eventually eat it all up. Just wait for it!

The first city to test this invention is Baltimore. You can find the Mr. Trash in the city’s harbour. The ultimate goal is to make the harbour swimproof by the year of 2020. Mr. Trash Wheel has to make sure of that.

The machine is funded by members of the city itself, and the city councel and costed almost 700.000 euros. It works as follows: as the wheel turns, Mr. Trash Wheel collects litter from the harbour and stores it in a barge for later removal. Until now, the results are impressive. Mr. Trash Wheel removed 19 tons of garbage from Baltimore’s waterfront on one day.[1]

Last note

So this is the Mr. Trash Wheel. I think it’s such a great idea… I mean, if we are able to get something like this in major cities that have suitable harbors, it would be in many ways transformational. What do you think of this business idea? Let me know in the comment section below. I’m happy to hear from you.

If you’re interested in more quirky, innovative business ideas, head over to these blogs:

Business and philanthropic ideas for change

How this business idea can help allergic people live their best lives

I think the great thing about technology is that it can make the impossible possible in many ways. For me, the creation of this allergy tester called the Nima Sensor is a great example of that.   

How it all started

The founders of this portable device started off with a clear mission. Due to their own struggle with food allergies and gluten intolerance, Scott Sundvor and Shireen Yates started to think about a way to make it much easier for people with allergies to live their healthiest selves. 

After the mission statement settled, both developed a clear vision for the business: what about a device that gives people the power to really know what’s in their food? 

The founders envisioned someting completely new to the world. It became a sensor that allows consumers with allergies to quickly test for proteins they want to avoid, before they start eating.  Basically you scan your food and just wait for the display to give you the answer.

BLEEP – Just scan!

Since I’ve been struggling with allergies all my life, I know how exciting it is to go to a restaurant without any worry. Just scan your food and wait for the smiley to come… can you imagine? How great is that?! I’m truly obsessed with this tech invention; I have to say!  There is a peanut-version coming up and hopefully there will be a allergy tester for detecting nuts in future. Leave a comment down below to let me know what kind of allergy you have!   

And even though the vision behind the invention sounds really great and very innovative, you may find it hard to believe that this tech piece actually works. But it does, since it meets every European standard.


I price Yireen Yates and Scott Sundvor for their audacity. In Time Yireen let us know that what she envisioned was labeled as practically unfeasible. Due to her tenacity, imagination and perseverance, she worked her way out and found a connection with valuable people like scientists and tech specialists to make her way to the top.   

What you see happening in the world is that this audacity is available to more and more organizations as technology shifts from “could it be done?” to: “do we have the guts?”. You only need some great ideas and some brave people to conquer the world.  

Go check this allergy tester outBig opportunity for all allergic people!

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