Meet the Advocates Mobilizing for More Equitable Societies

A climate-change refugee, food redistributor, and more.

Each year, GOOD celebrates 100 people from around the globe who are improving our world in creative and innovative ways—advocates, inventors, educators, creatives, business leaders and more who are speaking up, building things, campaigning for change, and ultimately refusing to accept the status quo.

In this section, meet 12 advocates creating change to promote social, political, and economic justice.

Jane Marx’s Social Impact Comes Caffeinated


After founding Long Street Coffee last summer out of a converted garage in Melbourne, Jane Marx and her husband, Francois, turned their café into a platform for creating awareness of Australia’s severe restrictions on refugee rights, employing refugees and providing paid, six-month barista trainee-ships to asylum seekers.

LocoL Reimagines Fast Food

Los Angeles, San Francisco

Michelin-starred chef Daniel Patterson and Kogi food truck king Roy Choi bring affordable Korean-American fusion to neglected food deserts with fast-casual chain LocoL. Their “burgs” are beef patties cut with grains, seaweed, and tofu, though customers at the inaugural location in Los Angeles’s Watts neighborhood could barely tell the difference. Next, the pair will launch LocoL in San Francisco.

Ioane Teitiota Challenges Refugee Classifications

South Terawa

Rising sea levels threaten the existence of Ioane Teitiota’s home country of Kiribati—a low-lying island chain in the Pacific—so he sought refuge in New Zealand, campaigning to become the first climate change refugee. After a four-year legal battle, Teitiota was deported, but not before raising international awareness of Kiribati’s plight and the effect of climate change as its own form of persecution.

Li Tingting is China’s Fiercest Feminist


Chinese performance artist Li Tingting—who has taken over male public restrooms and marched down Beijing streets wearing a blood-splattered wedding dress to protest gender and sexual inequality—spent 37 days in prison after her activist group, dubbed the “Feminist Five,” planned demonstrations for last year’s International Women’s Day. Since her release, Tingting has been studying law, aiming to become the first openly lesbian attorney in Chinese history.

Nafisa Kaptownwala Sees Beauty in Many Shades


At just 27 years old, Nafisa Kaptownwala is the founder of Lorde Inc., the first modeling agency whose entire roster boasts models of color—many of whom were recruited off of Instagram and on the street. Though only launched in 2013, Lorde has already expanded from its London base to Toronto and New York City, knocking at mainstream fashion’s door to remind the industry that a big, wide world of diverse beauty exists out there.

Chris Mosier Sprints Toward Inclusivity

New York City

When Chris Mosier earned a spot on Team USA’s sprint duathlon squad for the 2016 World Championship, he became the first openly transgender athlete to make a U.S. national team aligned with his gender identity. As founder of and executive director of GO! Athletes, Mosier consults with sports leagues on trans inclusivity and creates bias response protocols informed in part by his personal experiences with discrimination. This year, Mosier saw another victory with the International Olympic Committee lifting its policy requiring that transgender athletes complete reassignment surgery in order to compete.

Rafael Strasser Brings People to the Table


Rafael Strasser has your dinner plans covered. His initiative, Über den Tellerrand, combats prejudice by integrating migrants into the local communities of 20 German cities through cooking classes, recipe sharing, pop-up restaurants, and more.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka Puts Women First

New York City

Before Emma Watson, there was Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. The United Nations Under-Secretary- General and Executive Director of UN Women is the mastermind behind the HeForShe campaign, which encourages men to be more proactive in achieving gender equality. Most recently, Mlambo-Ngcuka advocated for climate change solutions in the Paris Agreement that address the disproportionate impact environmental change has on women and girls.

Hari Nef Shatters the Mold

New York City

When Hari Nef signed to IMG Models last May, she became the first transgender model on the top agency’s U.S. roster. Since then, Nef has walked in New York Fashion Week, been featured in Vogue, and visited the White House as part of its Champions of Change event honoring LGBT artists. The Tumblr favorite has also jumped into writing and acting, appearing on the second season of Amazon’s Transparent.

Megan Smith Breaks Glass Ceilings

Washington, D.C.

In September 2014, President Obama named Megan Smith chief technical officer of the United States, making her the first woman to hold the post. A former Google executive and veteran of Silicon Valley, she helped found the Malala Fund in 2012 specifically for Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai’s work in girls’ education and empowerment, and serves on the board of Vital Voices, a nonprofit that works with women leaders in economics, politics, and human rights.

Jose Manuel Moller Fills a Forgotten Food Need


Jose Manuel Moller’s company, Algramo, buys essential food goods in bulk to distribute affordably through vending machines on the outskirts of Chilean and Colombian cities, where local stores often charge up to 40 percent more than in central areas. The service is now expanding to Mexico.

Jody Wilson-Raybould Raises Her Voice for the Indigenous


Jody Wilson-Raybould was sworn in as Canada’s minister of justice and attorney general this past November, making her the first indigenous person to hold the office—not to mention the country’s first liberal minister of justice in a decade. One of her first actions in office was to establish a national framework to combat violence against indigenous women.


The global climate change strikes on Friday are said to have been the largest protest for climate change in history. An estimated four million people participated in 2,500 events across 163 countries on all seven continents. That included an estimated 300,000 Australians, but a total of zero were in Hyde Park in Sydney, despite a viral photo that claims otherwise.

Australian Youth Coal Coalition, a pro-coal Facebook page, posted a photo showing trash strewn across a park after what appears to have been a large event. "Look at the mess today's climate protesters left behind in beautiful Hyde Park," the photo was captioned. "So much plastic. So much landfill. So sad." The only problem is, the photo wasn't taken after a climate change protest. It wasn't even taken in Australia.

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via GOOD / YouTube

Last Friday, millions of people in 150 countries across the globe took to the streets to urge world leaders to enact dramatic solutions to combat climate change.

The Climate Strike was inspired, in part, by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old girl from Sweden who has captured worldwide attention for her tireless work to hold lawmakers responsible for the climate crisis.

The strike gave people across the planet the opportunity to make their voices heard before the U.N. General Assembly Climate Summit in New York City on Monday.

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Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

As world leaders meet to discuss new ways to tackle climate change at the U.N. Climate Action Summit, they might miss one very big part of healing nature – nature. In a new short film, youth climate change activist Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot, a writer for the Guardian, talked about how we need to use nature as a solution to climate change.

There's a huge push to curb emissions, but it's not the be all end all of handling climate change; we also need to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. While we don't have technology to do that for us, there is another solution. "There is a magic machine that sucks carbon out of the air, costs very little, and builds itself. It's called a tree," Monboit says in the film. Researchers found that we could get rid of two-thirds of the carbon dioxide that we've emitted during the industrial era just by growing trees. That amounts to 205 billion tons of carbon. Right now, deforestation of tropical forests is responsible for 20% of current greenhouse emissions.

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Climate Action Tracker

In 2016, 196 countries signed the Paris Agreement, pledging to combat climate change by taking action to curb the increase in global temperatures. The Paris Agreement requires countries to report on their emissions and what steps they're taking to implement those plans. Now that the countries are coming together again for the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York City, it's worth taking a look at what kind of progress they've made.

The Climate Action Trackerkeeps tabs on what each country is doing to limit warming, and if they're meeting their self-set goals. Countries are graded based on whether or not their actions would help limit warming to 1.5 degrees C.

According to a recent article from National Geographic, The Gambia, Morocco, and India are at the head of the class. "Even though carbon emissions in The Gambia, Morocco, and India are expected to rise, they'll fall short of exceeding the 1.5-degree Celsius limit," the article reads. Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States, on the other hand, get a big fat F. "Projected emissions in Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United States are far greater than what it would take to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius."

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Screenshot via (left) Wikimedia Commons (right)

Greta Thunberg has been dubbed the "Joan of Arc of climate change" for good reason. The 16-year-old activist embodies the courage and conviction of the unlikely underdog heroine, as well as the seemingly innate ability to lead a movement.

Thunberg has dedicated her young life to waking up the world to the climate crisis we face and cutting the crap that gets in the way of fixing it. Her speeches are a unique blend of calm rationality and no-holds-barred bluntness. She speaks truth to power, dispassionately and unflinchingly, and it is glorious.

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