Newport Harbor freshman gives talk in Paris on AI solutions to environmental problems

Ryan Honary, 15, a freshman at Newport Harbor High School, launched the start-up SensoRy AI in 2021.
Ryan Honary, 15, a freshman at Newport Harbor High School, hosted a panel discussion and global showcase Friday on “The Future of Artificial Intelligence-Driven Environmental Solutions” at this month’s Learning Planet Festival, an event created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the Learning Planet Institute in Paris.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

When 15-year-old Ryan Honary said he would travel to Paris this week to make a presentation at UNESCO’s Learning Planet Festival, he announced he would use his platform there to launch an effort geared toward engaging others in his age group to create solutions for environmental problems.

He’s calling it the Climate Solutions Society.

“It’s focused on encouraging the youth to create solutions for environmental problems they care about rather than just talk about it,” said Honary, who has already embarked on providing solutions through SensoRy AI, the start-up he launched in 2021.

Spurred by the damage brought on by the devastating 2018 Camp fire, Honary, at the age of 12, created a network of sensors with wireless mesh networking to allow for early detection of wildfires or leaks and won awards for his concept. He said in a recent interview he wondered at the time why humans were thinking about going to other planets when they were on this one, which needs care.

His project has since evolved, and his next steps are to create a permanent test bed for his network with the Irvine Ranch Conservancy and the Orange County Fire Authority.

But first he headed to Paris to present his project and moderate a panel organized by UNESCO, the United Nation’s cultural agency, and the Learning Planet Institute. The Learning Planet Festival brings together minds from all disciplines to share ideas to “take care of oneself, others and the planet.”

Ryan Honary, 15, a freshman at Newport Harbor, holds up a fire detector.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

“Presenting at a UNESCO youth conference is a prestigious opportunity, and I couldn’t be more excited for Ryan,” said Newport Harbor High School principal Sean Boulton in a statement.

Honary was invited to participate in “The Future of Artificial Intelligence-Driven Environmental Solutions” panel, demonstrating his project in addition to officially announcing the Climate Solutions Society on Friday alongside fellow speaker Ryan Ruien Zhang, the founder of PEDS-AI, which focuses on sustainable agriculture and monitoring epidemic disease.

“I was super excited because going to Paris to present my network ... I feel like a very important person obviously because I’m going to another country to speak about what I’ve invented,” said Honary, laughing as he added he found out about a month ago he’d be participating.

Honary said he felt it was his and other youth’s responsibility to take care of the environment.

“It’s been destroyed over time, and as climate change rises and our Earth becomes more polluted, so does the risk of wildfires,” he continued. “I feel like it’s important to me to act on wildfires and important to address environmental solutions as a whole. That’s also why I created the Climate Solutions Society to encourage the youth to create solutions.

“If we don’t, our planet’s going to become unlivable pretty soon.”

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