Why Jaden Smith is grossly underrated


Graphic made by Megan Riehle

20 year old artist, activist, entrepreneur, business owner and conscientious member of society, Jaden Smith is doing absolutely everything he can to seriously change the world. Being the son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith and the brother of the talented Willow Smith and the lesser known Trey Smith, Jaden has always been in the spotlight. However, if there will ever be an example of getting out from behind the shadow of your famous parents, Jaden Smith is a perfect representation. Setting aside his incredible music and performance skills, Smith is the co-founder of JUST Water, and though this company he is providing clean water to Flint Michigan with “The Water Box”.

Jaden Smith has developed a company called JUST Water with co-founder Drew FitzGerald. JUST Water aims to reduce the production and purchasing of single use plastic and uses the smallest amount of land and resources to produce the bottles needed for packaging. These bottles are made from 54% paper, 28% plant-based plastic (mostly made from sugarcane) and 18% aluminum.

The sugarcane used in these bottles is grown and harvested in Brazil, about 745 miles away from the Amazon rainforest as to avoid disrupting the fragile ecosystem. JUST Water uses sugarcane because it grows densely in small areas and can grow with just the water from natural rainfall. The sugarcane mills are also on the same site as the fields, leaving behind the need for much transportation.

Another benefit of using sugarcane is that after it is separated into edible sugar and ethanol, there is something left over called bagasse. Bagasse is so interesting because it is a clean, naturally occurring and renewable biofuel. Bagasse from the sugarcane processing plant in Brazil actually produces enough energy to provide power to a number of surrounding cities.  

As well as providing power, the production of sugarcane for plant-based plastic also helps capture CO2 in the atmosphere. The production of 200,000 tons of sugar for plastic represents an annual reduction of 800,000 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. That is the equivalent to 800,000 cars or 200,000 average families. These bottles are 100% recyclable and the water itself in these bottles is 100% spring water.

Through this company he has also recently began providing clean drinking water to the residents of Flint Michigan with “The Water Box”.

JUST Water got in contact with the Trinity Missionary Baptist Church in Flint Michigan that has been fighting the water crisis since it began. In collaboration with this local church Smith has developed a machine called “The Water Box”. The Water Box filters out lead and any other contaminants that may be in the water. It produces up to 10 gallons of clean water every minute. The people of Flint can go to The Water Box and fill any container of their choosing.

“The Water Box provides clean and odor-free water tested daily. Designed with the local water community, the system is engineered with proven components that reduce heavy metals like lead and eliminates harmful bacteria.” This is the message printed on The Water Box itself.  As of now there is only one of these filtration systems but Jada Pinkett-Smith has announced that she will be donating a second.

While it might be cliché and seemingly too easy, Smith also drives a Tesla. The Tesla is a fully electric car powered by extremely strong rechargeable lithium-ion battery. And while these expensive cars are in no way accessible to many people, reducing the use of fuel that powers common cars is a powerful way to reduce CO2 emissions. Using gasoline and diesel damage our environment and atmosphere so much because they are non-renewable fossil fuels. If everyone could drive an electric car such as the Tesla (other electric cars include the Nissan LEAF, Mercedes-Benz B-Class and the BMW i3) it would drastically reduce the carbon footprint humans leave behind. By doing something as simple as driving a different type of car, Smith is doing right by the environment.

The lesson to take from the achievements of Jaden Smith is not that you have to build a company from the ground up or buy an 88 thousand dollar car in order to treat the environment. Simply realize that some people who have obscene amounts of money use it to better the world, and others buy themselves another house. That is one thing that differentiates Jaden Smith from the majority of other rappers who are making music right now.