There is nothing like proof of solid progress to put a spring in one’s step!

Here is just one of the inspirational stories EWC is bringing to light!

Today we update you on a project that was in its primordial stages a year ago when we first brought it to the attention of the global EWC community. And now, “Toxic Art” (a project name you will understand in a few minutes) has moved on to the next level!

Rigorous Intention

The Toxic Art project is the brainchild of a lovely chance collaboration between two professors from wildly differing departments at Ohio State University.  Guy Riefler (a civil engineer) and John Sabraw (an artist), independently came to have great concerns about the problem of streams being heavily polluted from abandoned mines in southeastern Ohio.

Combining their skills and knowledge bases, they have come up with an ingenious solution that is the epitome of a win/win solution.  It has all the careful science that an engineer would apply to problem-solving and all the depth of commitment that would come from two individuals who are seeing Here’s what can happen when rigorous intention, science and art collide! (We love rigorous intention,.. it is the secret sauce to the best innovations. No going through the motions. The best thought leaders bring rigor and good intention to every step of their process!

Take a look at the original video made about this remarkable project:

What an ingenious solution! The positive benefits start immediately and it pays for itself. How good is that? It’s a model for the future of all sustainability.

And why should we care?

Well here’s something I was thinking about when I learned about the great progress the project has made:

Small streams in neighborhoods all around the world are often the backdrop for our greatest childhood adventures. Do you remember playing by a tiny stream of some sort as a child? These tiny rivulets of water often form the basis for precious landscapes of our imagination.

This project might touch the hearts of many of us because we can also remember, as adults, seeing a local stream polluted by every kind of waste and feeling that moment as a bit soul-crushing.

But this project fits the best of inspirational stories. It’s so scalable and well-suited for any place in the world; pointing to hope for the imaginary landscapes of children everywhere.

Ingenious people are on the case!

Image: Two round colorful, abstract images made by artist John Sabraw with points from Toxic waste

Source: John Sabraw

The EWC Backstory and Connection

We started corresponding with John and Guy about this time two years ago, when we published the first article about the project. When I contacted them a year later, the response I got was typical of early projects just trying to find some footing:

“Thanks Lynda and Liesl.  It was a great article and it’s been frustratingly slow to find funding to move the concept out of the lab and to a bigger scale, so the more exposure the better.  We’d be happy to give you an update if you check in with us in a year or two.”

So dutifully, I checked back in a year (just recently) and got this amazing response:

“Thanks Lynda, sorry for the delay. We are in a lovely crush right now as we have secured funding this summer to build our scaled pilot plant onsite and will break ground next week!! So much to share but we will know even more soon, so stay in touch, it’s about to get very interesting indeed.”

That’s the roller-coaster ride so common to the wonderful innovators we feature on EWC and thankfully they persevere!

Now it’s 3 months since I got that exciting email from John, they have launched a Kickstarter campaign to get the first test-plant built and churning out some clean water.

Check out the Toxic Art Kick Starter campaign to see their terrific plans!

There’s a beautiful and fascinating video there that expands on everything in the video we featured today. They explain the process of making the pigments and cleaning up streams with fascinating detail.

Be sure to take a look. Original thinkers like this are precious and will lead us forward!

Stay open, curious and hopeful.

~ Dr. Lynda

Want to have a look at our original article?

13 minutes

Saving Rivers by Turning Toxins Into Art!

How can painting with toxic sludge save rivers? Two professors at Ohio University are teaming up to combine art and science to conserve and protect polluted waterways!

Read More

How about a few more articles about thought leaders?

EWC Thought Leaders


  1. “Turning Toxins Into Art | ‘That’s Amazing’.” YouTube. Great Big Story, 22 Dec. 2016. Web. 03 Apr. 2018. <>.

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world. Hear her latest conversations with thought leaders on the Conspiracy of Goodness Podcast--new episodes every Wednesday!