Since last November, the 12-year-old Ismachiah Oduwole has been using his passion for sports to help spread the word about another topic he is very passionate about: protecting our climate! With his soccer ball in hand, he has been inviting people all around the world, and especially in his home country, the United States, to go a bit deeper on why we need to take urgent action to stop the climate crisis.
All started when found out in mid-November that his entire family had saved for 10 months for him to go to the FIFA Worl Cup in Qatar. He was not only excited, he only had 24 hours to pack his bags and get ready for what seemed a trip of a life time. To prevent him asking a thousand questions between February and the day of the trip, his parents did all they could to keep the trip away from him, so he could focus on his school first, and then his two soccer leagues at United and ASO Select in Santa Clarita, California.
While packing, he recognized a very unique opportunity: “What if I took a soccer ball and explained why more people should do things that help reduce the causes and impact of climate change“, Ismachiah said.
“I don’t have a big stage to speak, but I can get everyone onto my small stage, to think about our planet and especially our climate”.
From South America to Europe, Africa and North America and the Middle- East, people lined up to sign his ball for climate and hear more about climate activism. On the Doha train, in restaurants, after a football game, in the Souks, and on the streets, everyone from an entire football federation delegation from Saudi Arabia, to various sports officials, family members, and ordinary fans – from England, Ecuador, South Korea, Argentina, Brazil, the US, Ethiopia, Senegal, Canada, Morocco, Syria, Walesand many others – signed the ball to indicate they would do more, for climate mitigation when they get back home.
As Ismachiah said, “I have done something besides just watching the US game in the World Cup. It’s up to you all now, to do something too, on climate”. And he keeps on his fight to save the future of his and next generations!