(CNN)In a remote community in Northern Canada, beside the Arctic Ocean, is a beach encrusted with burnt trash -- plastic, glass, batteries, compost and all kinds of detritus.
When a young inventor stumbled upon the desecrated coastline during a 2017 expedition to the region, she cried at the sight.
"That was really moving for me," says Ann Makosinski, 22. "There's obviously much worse pollution around the world, but seeing it right in front of you and in your own country was really terrifying."
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It left her wanting to play a part in protecting the environment. The following year, back at her workspace in Victoria, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, she hit upon an idea.
She started work on a range of toys to teach kids about renewable energy. The cute, brightly colored characters make sounds, spin or light up when they are run underwater, placed in the sun or wound up, to demonstrate different ways of generating power.
"I just want, especially young kids, to feel like they can invent their own solutions and they don't have to wait for other people to make them," she says. "I want to inspire people to be more creative with the resources they have around them."