Mushrooms, elephants, hydrogen & other weird but cool eco trends

From the inspiring to the surprising to the downright weird, the ideas and innovations we encountered proved — yet again — that the human will and energy needed to tackle the climate crisis is alive and well.

Most humbling moment: The climate wunderkind

It’s not totally unexpected to meet someone at SXSW who’s doing something weird in their garage — but building a nuclear fusion reactor? Or growing bacteria that can make pure hydrogen?

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And, these inventors are 16 and 17 years old?? They’re part of The Knowledge Society, an accelerator program that connects kids with mentors and cutting-edge technology and then sets them loose to solve big problems.

Most inspiring speaker: Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm

While it’s unlikely that this is a requirement to lead the U.S. Department of Energy, when Jennifer Granholm took the stage to discuss America’s clean energy future, she was electric.

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She talked about what we can do now, like installing heat pumps and capitalizing on funds from the Inflation Reduction Act, and technology just on the cusp, like batteries made from dirt and silicon and the potential of floating offshore wind farms.


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