Celebrating our sisters: 6 amazing climate innovations from across the world

This year’s theme for Black History Month is “celebrating our sisters”. And what better way to do that than to highlight some incredible climate and ecological action from Black women across the world. Prepare to be amazed and delighted by their innovations…
  Published:  20 Oct 2023    |      2 minute read

Turning play into power with Soccket

When Dr. Jessica O. Matthews was just 19 years old, she invented an energy-generating soccer ball called the Soccket. The soccer ball captures energy during play, which is then used as a portable power source in off-grid communities. After an hour of active play, Soccket could power an 8-watt LED lamp for 3 hours. 3 years later, she founded the renewable energy company Uncharted Play, a social enterprise grounded in play and the happiness of life, which specialises in motion-based power systems.

Creating living artwork to respond to waiting lists for allotments doubling

Dr. JC Niala was the lead artist in creating a 30-metre-long living artwork called "The Waiting List", made of seed paper and is part of Greenpeace UK’s Bad Taste Project. The artwork was created as a response to waiting lists for allotments doubling in a decade. The seed paper was unfurled and displayed at Westminster by artists and allotmenteers. They did so to urge the government to enable people to exercise their rights to allotments as part of the solution to food insecurity, the cost-of-living crisis and the climate and nature emergency. 

A close up shot of artist JC Niala trimming her artwork with a pair of scissors.
The Making of "The Waiting List" Artwork in UK
Credit: © Elizabeth Dalziel / Greenpeace

Transforming landfill into a waterfront park

Urban visionary Majora Carter spearheaded the creation of the Hunts Point Riverside Park, a project that transformed landfill into a waterfront park in the South Bronx. Once an illegal dumping ground, it’s now a thriving riverside park – and the first to be built in the area in over sixty years. Majora Carter secured grant money and worked with local community members to create an oasis for the community to enjoy, boasting a range of activities to take part in like kayaking and canoeing.

Empowering women through the planting of trees

Wanjira Mathai advocates for tree planting and conservation through the Green Belt Movement. The Green Belt Movement is an environmental organisation that empowers communities, particularly women, to conserve the environment and improve livelihoods. It was founded by Wangira Mathai in 1977 and she sadly died in 2011. Her legacy lives on through the Wangari Maathai Foundation. In the same tradition of her mother, her daughter (who has a similar name, Wanjira Mathai) works to empower young people in Kenya to take charge in efforts to safeguard the environment.

I am not living in my mother’s shadow; I am basking in her light

Championing safe menstruation in Tanzania and beyond

Hyasintha Ntuyeko is a social entrepreneur who founded Kasole Secrets in Tanzania. The company produces and distributes affordable, biodegradable, high-quality menstrual products made from bamboo. Kasole Secrets also runs menstrual hygiene management campaigns at a national level. The company invests some of its profits to teach the lowest-income menstruators how to sew their own reusable pads.

Creating a roadmap for including the ocean in climate policy

A woman is speaking passionately, and in the background is digital images of beautiful, tropical fish
Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson delivering TED Talk: A Love Story for the Coral Reef Crisis
Credit: Ryan Lash

When the Green New Deal was unveiled, Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson noticed something blue was missing – the ocean. Dr. Johnson, along with others, didn’t want the ocean to be overlooked. And so, from concern to federal policy, Dr. Johnson co-authored the Blue New Deal, a policy framework for including the ocean in climate action plans. Listen to the podcast to find out more.