The 2023 Ocean Awareness Contest – Climate Heroes in Action – encourages students to learn about both climate change and solutions to the climate crisis. We want to celebrate the work of countless everyday heroes fighting to make the world more habitable and just in the face of human-induced climate change. These heroes are leading with determination, resolve, and even joy to create a better world for us all.
“The large numbers of people, groups, organizations, and advocates that stand strong for the cause give me hope.” Kaitlyn Ha, BOW SEAT STUDENT ARTIST
Meet some Climate Heroes below. You are welcome to feature these heroes’ work in your submission to the 2023 Ocean Awareness Contest, but you do not have to. Feel free to choose a climate hero whose work we may not know about yet – we’d love to learn about their accomplishments!
Aniya Butler is a spoken-word poet and leader at Youth vs. Apocalypse, a youth climate action group uplifting the voices of people of color and standing up for environmental justice. She’s helped to organize climate strikes with tens of thousands of attendees.
Jasilyn Charger is a Land Defender and community organizer youth advocate for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. She has been on the frontlines for six years battling pipelines, protecting and advocating for Native American and LGBTQ rights. Currently she is supporting a local movement for MMIW with the Women Warriors Society opposing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. – Earth Guardians
Website: Jasilyn Charger
Kristy Drutman is the founder of Brown Girl Green, an online space for action & healing in the face of climate doom. Drutman is also the founder of the Green Jobs Board, a space for people who are looking for environmental jobs that prioritize racial justice.
Nicole Horseherder is Diné (Navajo) and executive director of Tó Nizhóní Ání (“Beautiful Water Speaking”), which works to protect the waters of Dinétah, her tribal homeland in the Black Mesa region (Dził Yijiin) of Navajo Nation. – Climate Reality Project
Photo Credit: Darcy Padilla
Carlee Jackson is a shark scientist and marine turtle specialist based in Florida. She organizes with Black in Marine Science (BIMS) to amplify Black voices in marine conservation. She co-founded Minorities in Shark Sciences (MISS) in June 2020 to increase diversity within shark sciences.
Amy Keller founded Climate Candy, turning fruits and vegetables into tasty, plant-based candy. She uses perfectly edible produce that isn’t good-looking enough to make it to store, saving it from ending up in a landfill and releasing methane.
- Food waste is a huge climate problem. A new candy has a sweet solution in time for Halloween
- Restoring The Health Of The Planet And Its People Through Climate Candy
Xiuhtezcatl Martínez is an indigenous hip hop artist and climate activist. He served as the 2020-2021 director of Earth Guardians, an environmental nonprofit committed to youth leadership in environmental justice spaces.
Website: Tiara Moore
Goran N’Diaye is the director of the Kaydara agro-ecological farm in Senegal, where he now trains young Sengalese farmers on ecologically friendly farming practices. By using permaculture, he created an oasis in a desert.
Maynard Okereke, also known as Hip Hop M.D., is a science communicator committed to diversifying STEM and making it more accessible through entertaining content.
- How Maynard Okereke Made Himself Whole as the Hip-Hop Doc | INDI
- Giving Science Its Rap | Bow Seat Deep Dive Series
Leah Penniman has over 20 years of experience as a soil steward and food sovereignty activist. Leah founded Soul Fire Farm in 2011, with goals of farming in an anti-racist and regenerative way.
- Farming While Black
- Soul Fire Farm’s Leah Penniman Explains Why Food Sovereignty Is Central in the Fight for Racial Justice | Vogue
- A Day at Soul Fire Farm | The Seeds of Ancestors
Photo Credit: Jamel Mosely
Danni Washington is a science communicator, art advocate, TV host, and ocean activist. She is the first African-American woman to host her own TV series. She also leads Mocha Mermaid, The Big Blue & You, and Sea Youth Rise Up.
Website: Danni Washington
Dr. Katharine Wilkinson is the bestselling author of All We Can Save and the co-founder of the All We Can Save Project, whose mission is “to nurture the leaderful climate community we need for a life-giving future.”
Website: Katherine Wilkinson
Photo Credit: Ben Brinker