Real World Solutions to Real Problems: Water and Food

Real World Solutions to Real Problems

(aka: Why Engineering is Awesome)

Richard Smalley said 10 years ago that there were TEN main problems facing humanity in the next 50 years (well, now 40 years). They are:

  1. Energy
  2. Water
  3. Food
  4. Environment
  5. Poverty
  6. Terrorism + War
  7. Disease
  8. Education
  9. Democracy
  10. Population

It’s clear to see that so many of these challenges are interconnected with one another. While Smalley concentrated on his own five ‘Grand Challenges’, in my own opinion, there are no two problems greater than those of food and water.



Easily one of the coolest solutions I’ve seen is LifeStraws . One of the greatest features that LifeStraws supports is its ‘point-of-use’ method of purifying water, making long, mile-long trips just to fetch clean drinking water a thing of the past for people in affected regions.


In my humble opinion, food is the greatest impediment to youth development across the world. If kids are not properly fed, tasks like working and going to school, growing and developing are all irreversibly stunted. By far the most affected country in the world is India, something I’ve seen first hand on my many visits there over the years.



Clearly, the people at Akshaya Patra think along the same lines. They are working to provide nutritional lunches to kids so they can learn and grow to their fullest potential when they attend school in nine different states in India. For the equivalent of around $12 (US dollars), this organization can work to provide meals to one child for an entire year.

[Fun fact – Akshaya patra comes from Hindu mythology and represents an ‘inexhaustible vessel’]


Of course, if you want to help without having to move a single inch, visit FREE RICE! They have games for all sorts of subjects and the more you play, the more rice they will donate. Pretty awesome, right?