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What is your life’s purpose?
To work on world-first solutions through innovative design and ingenuity, with a particular focus on third world countries.

How are you living your purpose?
I just completed a project in Somaliland, where I led the construction of a compound of Seawater Greenhouses. I was the lead engineer and project manager, working with a great team from the local communities. We are building a self-sustainable, off-grid, restorative agricultural solution for the Horn of Africa.

The Seawater Greenhouse uses a combination of sunlight, wind, and seawater to grow crops in hot arid regions of the world. These greenhouses bring the green back to the desert. We provide training and impart knowledge to these communities to run these greenhouses and help them kick start new agricultural industries.

I write a blog on our company’s Facebook page, detailing our progress. This project is something that I am immensely proud to be a part of. I truly believe that what we are trying to achieve could benefit the entire world.

How did you find your purpose?
While studying for my Master’s in Engineering at the University of Nottingham, I worked on a project for a competition set by the Royal Society of Arts: finding a solution for women in third-world countries to be able to have better access to clean water. I designed a water-filtration kit that creates a form of activated carbon that can aid in the purification of water. I won the competition, which led me to my current boss, Mr. Charlie Paton, director of Seawater Greenhouse Ltd. He offered me a job at his company, and I have not looked back since.

Before going to university, I was introduced to aid work, for the first time, when I went on a school trip to a small town in the heart of Kenya called Gil Gil, where we built a playground for a nursery school. I certainly felt inspired by this trip, and after school finished I returned to the same town as part of a volunteer aid project, where I worked at a primary school for two months as an English teacher and a rugby coach. It was this experience that really connected with me; the relationships I had with the students at the school gave me the insight and information that influenced my design of the water filter for the Royal Society of Arts competition.

The completed Somaliland greenhouses

What advice do you have for purpose seekers?
I am a young man, and may not be in the best position to offer much advice, however, if I can offer any words, they are to keep pushing your boundaries; you do not know what you are capable of until you stretch out of your comfort zone.

I did not perform well at school; I never truly applied myself and ended up flunking math. It was after school that I realized how much I had taken for granted. I changed my attitude, and worked hard to re-take my failed math exams. This helped me get into a university degree that allowed me to pursue the creativity and innovation that I had so much passion for. My point is, it is never too late to make a change, to apply yourself and reach for your passion. If there is a direction you believe your life should be going in, fight for it.

The greenhouses are operational — planting crops!

 

What resources do you recommend?
I am a keen watcher of TED Talks. I certainly recommend them for inspiration. Here are some of my favorites:
“Using nature’s genius in architecture”
“How art, technology, and design inform creative leaders”
“How to grow a forest in your backyard”
“Designers—Think big!”

Volunteer Vacations, the company that helped to organize my trip to Kenya to be a teacher
Water Aid, a great charity organization with eye-opening information
Behance, an inspirational website that shows product designs from around the world

Connect with Christopher Rothera
Email: chris.rothera@seawatergreenhouse.com
Website: https://seawatergreenhouse.com/
Facebook Page
LinkedIn

Chris joined the team at Seawater Greenhouse Ltd. after winning the Royal Society of Arts award for his design of a water filtration kit for women in third world countries. Charlie was one of the judges of the competition and introduced Chris to Seawater Greenhouse after his success. Using the skills he learned from his Master’s in Engineering in Product Design and Manufacturing Engineering from the University of Nottingham, Chris is designing and developing the next generation of Seawater Greenhouse solutions.