It felt like this is the cavalry that’s come to save us from ourselves. These extraordinary, driven, eco-compassionate children are cancelling the apocalypse.
— Scott Beggs, The Nerdist
Inventing Tomorrow follows six young scientists from Indonesia, Hawaii, India, and Mexico as they tackle some of the most complex environmental issues facing humanity today –right in their own backyards. Each student is preparing original scientific research that he or she will defend at ISEF, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Framed against the backdrop of the severe environmental threats we now face, we immerse the audience in a global view of the planetary crisis, through the eyes of the generation that will be affected by it most.
Considered the Olympics of high school science fairs, ISEF is the largest gathering of high school scientists in the world, attracting approximately 1,800 finalists from over 75 countries, regions, and territories. All the finalists want to do a good job, but the heart of the story isn’t about whether they go home with an award. As they take water samples from contaminated lakes, dig up the dirt in public parks, board illegal pirate mining ships, and test their experiments in a lab, we see each student display a tenacious curiosity, and a determination to build a better future. Motivated by the desire to protect their homes, these young people are asking questions about the issues they observe in their communities and proposing innovative solutions to fix them.
Directed by Laura Nix.
Featuring a conversation with Dr. Greg Carbone (Professor, University of South Carolina), Dr. Monica Barra (Professor, School of the Earth, Ocean & Environment and Department of Anthropology, USC), Pippa Richter (Senior at AC Flora High School), and Hayle Turner (Senior at Richland Northeast High School) about the causes, repercussions, and prevention of climate change and pollution in the Southeast.
Greg Carbone’s research includes climate variability and change and climate impacts. He is an investigator with the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CISA) program, a NOAA-sponsored center designed to work with decision makers to improve the use of climate information in resource management. His most recent work exams the spatial and temporal nature of drought and the use of climate change scenarios for decision making. Carbone has won university teaching awards for his instruction of weather and climate courses.
Monica Barra is an assistant professor in the School of the Earth, Ocean & Environment and Department of Anthropology at the University of South Carolina. Her scholarly and creative work focuses on environmental change, science, race, and inequality in the US Gulf South. Most recently, she has worked with natural scientists, engineers, and community groups living on the edge of Louisiana’s coastal land loss crisis to devise ways of confronting the unequal impacts of environmental restoration and climate change on historically disenfranchised coastal communities.
Pippa Richter is a senior at A.C. Flora High School. She is the president and founder of the Environmental Club at A.C. Flora which is currently working to establish a system for recycling at the school. Her interests include computer science and molecular biology, especially as they relate to genetics and artificial photosynthesis. She will be attending the California Institute of Technology as a freshman in the fall of 2019.
Hayle Turner is a senior at Richland Northeast High School who has studied and presented on environmental discrimination. She has represented RNE on the Model United Nations UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme).