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The Most Inspiring Stories of 2017 You Need to Know About

  • 12. 7-Year-Old Boy Runs His Own Recycling Company to Save the Earth (and Money for College) You can never be too young to care about the Earth and make a difference! California boy Ryan Hickman has always had a passion for sorting plastics from glass and cardboard. At just 3 years old, Hickman was inspired by a trip to the bottle return to begin a collecting/cleaning/sorting/exchanging recycling service for his neighborhood. Four years later, Hickman is now the CEO of his own business: Ryan's Recycling Company. He operates in 5 surrounding neighborhoods and separates the trash of 40 regular customers. Hickman and his parents visit the recycling center every few weekends to drop off the discarded reusable waste. Since launching his company, Hickman has recycled 49,000 pounds of waste, 200,000 cans and bottles, and has donated over $1,600 to charity. His leftover profits—an impressive $10,000—have been deposited straight into his college savings account. According to The Capistrano Dispatch, Ryan's eco-consciousness has rubbed off on everyone around him. His mother says, "You find yourself walking past a can on the ground and needing to pick it up instead of walking away and leaving it there."  
  • 13. The Stylish Men's Fashion Club Changing the World's View of Iraq Mr. Ebil, Iraq's First Fashion Club, is a group of 30 fashion-forward men who are changing the social definition of what it means to be Kurdish. Not only are their semi-annual meetings an opportunity to don their most dapper suits for social media selfies, they are think-tank sessions about how revolutionize Kurdistan and resolve everyday issues. One of their latest missions is to promote respect towards women. In doing so, the group of millennial dandies also remind us that the preconceptions we have about Iraqi men are quite outdated. Read more about the mission and history of Mr. Ebil here.
  • 14. Generous Man Drives 3,000 Gallons of Water to Thirsty Kenyan Wildlife Each Day For years, Kenya has been victim to a killer drought, drying up much of the nation's resources. Not only have people and crops suffered from the dry spell, the countless herds of wildlife have gone thirsty in the bleak and barren savannah. One man, a pea farmer named Patrick Kilonzo Mwalua, has made it his mission to drive hours out of his way each day to bring 3,000 gallons of water to Tsavo West National Park. His guiding thought was that if he didn't give them water, they would die. It was something he felt he had to do. The animals have come to recognize their human savior, and as Mwalua tells The Dodo, "When I arrived they could smell the water. The buffalo were so keen and coming close to us. They started drinking water while I was standing there. They get so excited." In addition to his daily water deliveries, Mwalua is co-founder of TSAVO Volunteers, an organization which promotes conservation education and awareness.