Mothers of Invention

Mothers of Invention

By Doc Society

Climate change is a man-made problem with a feminist solution! Join former Irish President Mary Robinson and comedian Maeve Higgins in this uplifting and fascinating podcast, and meet a host of game-changing women fighting to save all our lives. 


Bernie Sanders Specialsode: Democracy with a very big D

In an extra special live edition of Mothers Of Invention, US Senator Bernie Sanders and Mary meet for the first time! Moderated by Thimali, they discuss reentering the Paris Agreement, reimagining global governance and planned migration. With help from our guest Mother, Sacajawea Hall of Cooperation Jackson, we learn what justice looks like when led by communities most affected by social, economic and racial inequity. Recorded at I.NY Festival in partnership with I.NY and The Sanders Institute.
16/12/20·36m 10s

How To Listen To Mothers Of Invention

Are you new to climate justice and want to learn more? Looking to get involved in the movement and not sure where to start? Mary, Maeve & Thimali have the rundown on what you need to get going.
11/11/20·3m 48s

Brave Enough To Imagine

The only way to create the future is to imagine it first. In our final release of Season Three, Mary, Maeve & Thimali explore regenerative futures for all on the other side of a very special US election.
04/11/20·8m 18s

We May Be Small But Our Impact Is Huge

The climate crisis has made our young people a marginalized group. But the youth climate movement is being led by no ordinary generation. They are passionate, educated and organized. In our season finale, six days before the US election, Mary, Maeve & Thimali recognize the importance of these critical perspectives from global North and global South youth. In an unprecedented episode, we learn about their hopes, their fears, their ambitions, and their strategies and visions for the future.
28/10/20·55m 36s

The Meeting Circle

Thimali engages in a little self-care with her friend, climate essayist and co-host of Hot Take podcast, Mary Annaïse Heglar. Strolling through a New York City forest, they share good and bad experiences being of colour in nature, but have a chance encounter that helps them connect back to the land…
21/10/20·19m 13s

The Very Nature of Ownership

Extractive capitalism has caused so much destruction to our planet. So with all we've learnt this season, how can we rethink the value of natural resources, and the people who work hard to bring them from the land to our homes? And how does it contribute to our new visions and value systems for a regenerative future? Could 'climate justice for all' in fact be in our reach? In this episode we talk to Bina Agarwal in Delhi & Omar Freilla in the South Bronx about the power of going local.
14/10/20·50m 24s

Oh my God, Mom

Keep having climate chats with your family that end in eye rolls, clenched or lost teeth? Well in this week's minisode, Maeve & Thimali talk to two youth activists from The CLEO Institute in Florida, our friends Gabi Rodriguez & Nicole Gazo. They're on a mission to awaken our parents’ inner climate warrior. From deflecting confrontation and forging connection, to active listening and using stats the right way, we learn how to bridge the generational gap, and transform bickering into brainstorming!
07/10/20·19m 56s

Microbial Magic

We sometimes forget that the most sophisticated carbon sequestration infrastructures in the world are thousands of years old! Reforestation may reduce fossil fuel emissions, but replanting monocultures won’t solve the problem. Our ecosystems are ancient, complex and not easily replaced. What are some of the oldest and newest techniques around for protecting and regenerating our planet’s biodiversity? Mary, Maeve & Thimali talk to Mina Susana Setra and Jane Zelikova in this week’s episode!
30/09/20·43m 53s

How to Sue Your Country

Taking your government to court over their climate impact is a fast-growing phenomenon that’s seeing powerful change. Individuals and organisations all over the world are setting new precedents and holding governments to account. But it’s not exactly a walk in the park! So how do you get it done? Well luckily Tessa Khan, human rights lawyer, co-founder of the Climate Litigation Network and Season 1 Mother of Invention, is on hand to explain to Maeve Higgins how it’s done! Archive: Our Children's Trust / Other Archive: RTE News
23/09/20·14m 55s

We are the People of the Beans

We learned in our last episode that food insecurity will cause huge swathes of climate migration by the end of the century. So are there ways large-scale farms could nurture our soil? What could small-scale farming do to bring justice to marginalized communities? This week, Mary, Maeve & Thimali meet Zoraida Calle in Colombia, and Vivien Sansour in Palestine as they learn how to breathe new life into dead land, and bring hope back to damaged communities.
16/09/20·48m 5s

Two Grow Wild in the City

Do you do a sad face when you see a big grey space in the town centre where a tall green tree should be? Well this episode is for you. Maeve is on (another) mission - this time to green up her home, and not just for cleaner air but for climate and racial justice too. But how easy is that in New York City? And what can all of us do, no matter where we are, to make it happen? Maeve attempts to plant her very own tree on the street and Thimali meets the amazing urban gardener Ena K. McPherson.
09/09/20·18m 25s

Universal Language

This late into the climate crisis, it’s now time for us to embrace adaptation as a solution, as communities reconsider the fight for their ancestral homes. We welcome Mary’s friend, Ursula Rakova, executive director of Tulele Peisa on the Carteret Islands, who is helping almost its entire population migrate to safe land. And Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy, Colette Pichon-Battle of Louisiana, USA who unpacks her work amongst local communities in the Bayou.
02/09/20·41m 23s

Take Action, Even If You're Scared

Yearning for good news? Hungry to get involved in IRL change? Well we could all learn a lot from our friend Tara Houska who has been smacking climate justice victories out of the park this summer. Frankly, it’s kind of hard to keep up. From big banks and big pipelines to big league football teams it’s clear that Tara really knows how to get things done. Maeve called her up to find out how we can learn from her summer of success. 
26/08/20·15m 9s

Million Dollar Questions

The IPCC uses the Industrial Revolution as the keystone for human-induced climate change, but there is a different marker for black, brown and indigenous peoples who have also been measuring climate change. How can the colonial impact on their homes be quantified, argued and repaid? Archaeologist Kristina Douglass talks about colonization and climate in Madagascar. And Lidy Nacpil, of the Asian People’s Movement on Debt & Development shares her fight for reparations on the global stage.
19/08/20·44m 26s

Dear Ruler: Letter Writing Tips for Exasperated Voters

Ever wanted to write a letter or email to rage and complain to the Powers That Be, but found yourself lost after “Hey. You.”? Yeah, us too. But take a deep breath and join Maeve and Thimali as they figure out how to put pen to paper for the climate crisis. From who to write to and how to build your argument, to which edible treats to include - we’ve got you covered. And there’s some top advice from our very own Mary Robinson. Now - quills at the ready you bards of beauty, it’s letter time. 
12/08/20·14m 48s

We Are Really Big Huggers

We moved heaven, Earth and Covid, and we are back! But with too many emergencies stacking up, and no way to press pause on the climate crisis, how do we cope? How do we visualize what happens next? Daiara Tukano is from a Northern Amazon indigenous community in Brazil. She describes her Covid experience and identifies the opportunities to review global health. And co-executive director of the Green New Deal UK, Fatima-Zahra Ibrahim tells us more about her new project, Build Back Better.
05/08/20·46m 3s

SEASON 3 TRAILER - We’re Back! And We’re Not Backing Down!

It’s mad, sad, exhausting and unfair. So what do we fight for and how do we get there? Climate justice is racial justice is gender justice. That’s how. Mothers of Invention is back! And this year, Mary, Maeve & Thimali are (kinda) reunited for a season to remember. From their home studios in Dublin & New York, Season 3 unfolds an unparalleled line-up of Mothers from every continent on the globe.  This season, Mothers of Invention explores the most critical climate issues of our time - reparations, immigration, agriculture, biodiversity, new economics and more! Together they rethink the value systems we’re getting ready to leave behind, and with care and compassion, reimagine a future that includes us all.  The climate crisis is a man-made problem with a feminist solution! And we’re not backing down!
29/07/20·2m 37s

You Probably Have Everything You Need

The fashion industry constitutes 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions today, and is reported to be the fifth-largest polluting sector in the world. But with a growing ambition to both revisit ancient practices and develop futuristic technologies, can fast fashion quickly adapt and reverse its reputation into one of positive change? Eco-fashion designer, Thao Vu of Kilomet109 guest hosts this week’s episode from Hanoi, Vietnam, as she, Mary and Maeve discuss what it would take for big business to scale up sustainability principles for good.
21/08/19·44m 57s

The Lungs of the North

The Arctic and it’s melting glaciers are the first images to mind when we think about climate change. But what do we know about the millions of indigenous peoples, who are fighting back against not only shifts in climate, but invasions for mineral extraction, shipping and fishing in their territories?  Dalee Sambo Dorough, chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, guest hosts this week episode with Mary & Maeve, from Anchorage, Alaska.
23/05/19·48m 56s

Jugglers of Time

City resident and co-founder of Help Delhi Breathe, Reecha Upadhyay, tells us how she rallied tens of thousands of voters to pass legislation that will help cap air pollution killing millions every year. She discusses biomimcry with Clare Miflin, who shares her epiphany that nature doesn’t create any waste and that perhaps our misuse of materials is a design flaw. We hear how Clare took her thought to the NYC’s Department of Sanitation and developed the Zero Waste Design Guidelines. And we take a trip to Freetown, Sierra Leone to visit Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, to hear how she watched her beloved city become ravaged by war and disease, before putting it on a path to future green thinking and economic potential.
07/05/19·38m 15s

Minisode 3: Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! Today marks the countdown to Earth Day’s 50th anniversary in 2020. Mary invites Susan Bass of the Earth Day Network onto the show, who takes us back to the very first Earth Day in 1970, and how it bears a stark resemblance to where we are at today. Mary & Susan look at the circumstances that led to a huge, nationwide effort by American workers, mothers and students, and how it encouraged President Richard Nixon to establish the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Today, Earth Day is a global event of political action and civic participation. Let us know how you’re celebrating Earth Day with your community, by tagging @mothersinvent and @earthdaynetwork on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We’ll give a shout out to our favorite submission on the next episode! Executive Producers -Jess Search & Beadie Finzi Series Producer - Thimali Kodikara Audio Producer & Mixer - Anne Pope Story Researcher & Co-ordinator - Jaad Asante Project Co-ordinator - Aisha Younis
21/04/19·11m 34s

Specialsode: Displaced with Mary Robinson

This week we loan out Mary to International Rescue Committee’s podcast, Displaced, for a chat with Ravi Gurumurthy & Grant Gordon. If you came for Maeve but don’t know about Mary, this week’s specialsode is a chance to hear the story of her venture into climate justice from the very beginning. Mary & Ravi discuss how people all over the world are being forced into displacement by climate change. We hear who her heroes are, and why none of us should stop believing that we can still do something about climate change.
15/04/19·43m 2s

The Climate Name Game

This week Maeve & Thimali play The Climate Name Game! Environmental activist George Monbiot published a compelling list of alternate climate vocabulary. His list encourages us to take another look at the way we describe the climate crisis, and remind ourselves that the environment is not destroying itself... we are. Listen in as Maeve hilariously invents some compelling terms of her own!
08/04/19·8m 42s

A Second Chance at Life

As we imagine new ideas for our natural resources, a new green economy presents us with a second chance at making good with both the earth and our communities. What will it take to transition to renewable energy, and what can we learn from both indigenous peoples and new technology? Navajo climate activist, Wahleah Johns, joins Mary & Maeve in the studio this week to share how she’s been getting it done.
01/04/19·40m 26s

Fish Out of Hot Water

The ocean has absorbed 90% of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases, and 40% of our carbon dioxide. We take a trip to Malé in the The Maldives to meet former president Mohamed Nasheed and discover what he sees in the future of the archipelago nation as it battles with threatening sea level rises. Ayana introduces us to Jill Pegnataro from Greenwave, a 3D seaweed farming model making bold changes off the coast of Connecticut in the United States.
18/03/19·43m 57s

Ghosting the Planet

This week’s episode is co-hosted by Rhiana Gunn-Wright, one of the lead policy writers of the Green New Deal. She joins Mary & Maeve in the studio to discuss public opinion on climate change in the United States, where it’s crucial that citizens and politicians take a role in environmental action. In a moment in history when its politics are so polarized, will climate justice be the great unifier?
05/03/19·40m 54s

Paw Print

In our first minisode, Maeve and our new series producer, Thimali, have a sit in the park to stalk cutie pie dogs and contemplate meat alternatives to pet food for Maeve’s pal, Shadow.   According to a recent study, pet owners have been ‘humanizing’ their pet food choices with top range meats because we only want the best for our fuzzy friends. However, our pets dietary needs aren’t the same as our own, and the impact of meat production on the environment is extremely high. As meat becomes more expensive, all parts of the animal are in greater demand by humans around the world. So are pet owners thinking about it? If so, what are the alternate options they’re looking into today?   Listen in as Maeve and Thimali go rogue on the streets of Manhattan, and discover the outcome of Shadow‘s taste test on our Instagram at @mothersinvent.   Series Producer - Thimali Kodikara Audio Producer - Anne Pope Story Researcher - Jaad Asante Social Media Experts - Aisha Younis & Shahmir Sanni
26/02/19·11m 47s

Nothing Happens Unless You Press the Button

In our first episode back, Mary & Maeve recap the groundbreaking climate events of 2018. They meet our youngest mother yet, 13 year old activist and organizer, Alexandria Villasenor, on why she’s spending every Friday in a sleeping bag at the gates of the UN. Professor Pauline Dube talks to us about co-authoring the IPCC Special Report 1.5, and how she’s countering its rejection at COP24. Mbororo indigenous leader Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim speaks from the World Economic Forum in Davos on how the best way to rebalance our relationship with nature is not artificial intelligence, but indigenous intelligence.
19/02/19·41m 28s

We Want a Colour TV!

This episode comes to you direct from New York City where Maeve lives and Mary was attending Climate Week. Governments, diplomates, business leaders and climate change gathered to assess progress and push for solutions to avert the climate crisis and deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement. Mary and Maeve set up in a Manhattan studio, for a special dispatch from the week joined by a flurry of Mothers of Invention. Kumi Naidoo, the new Director General of Amnesty International, passes by the studio at the start of the week, to share his perspective on environmental justice and human rights. Costa Rican diplomat Christiana Figueres and President Hilda Heine of the Marshall Islands also dropped by early one morning to report back on their weeks, which countries have committed what, and where we still need more action.   EPISODE NOTES: This week’s Mothers of Invention are:   Kumi Naidoo - South African activist now based in London Lifelong activist, anti-apartheid campaigner, former head of Greenpeace and now Director General of Amnesty International.   Christiana Figueres - Costa Rican diplomat now based in Washington DC International diplomat working on policy and multilateral negotiations. She was appointed Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in July 2010, six months after the failed COP15 in Copenhagen.   President Hilda Heine  - Marshall Islands Hilda Heine is a Marshallese educator and politician, currently serving as the eighth President of the Marshall Islands.  She announced the Marshall Islands’ progressive zero emissions target at the start of this year’s Climate Week.
30/09/18·40m 49s

Against the Grain

This episode serves up an all-you-can-eat investigation into food and its connection to climate. We meet Mothers of Invention in India, Nigeria and the US who are revolutionising the way we understand, protect, grow, and cook food around the world. Mary and Maeve learn that cows must not be given their own nation, discuss their good intentions to go vegetarian but also hear that this is an opportunity for the world to scale back from industrial farming for the good of all.   This week’s Mothers of Invention are: Dr Vandana Shiva - Delhi, India World-renowned author, activist, pioneer, scientific advisor, food sovereignty advocate and seed saver. Eco-feminist. Blew our minds. Learning more about Dr Shiva’s work and agroecology at Dr. Katharine Wilkinson - Atlanta, USA Lead writer of the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming (no big deal) Bestselling author, speaker and strategist, now working to spread the book’s message as Vice President of Communication & Engagement at Project Drawdown, Blessing Ekanem - Ayo, Nigeria Blessing Ekanem is a Business Development Associate working with Solar SIster in Nigeria, where she works with local women in Akwa Ebom to bring clean energy solutions and the opportunity to mitigate climate change, to the communities most affected. Neha Mistra - Delhi, India Neha Misra is the Co-Founder of Solar Sister, a social enterprise connecting the dots between energy justice, climate justice and women’s rights. The organization is currently supporting women in communities across Nigeria and Tanzania to deliver trusted clean energy access to their doorsteps.
17/09/18·36m 41s

BONUS: When Mary met Gina

Mary Robinson sits on a park bench with Gina McCarthy, ex-head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the US under President Obama. They watch the ducks and talk turkey about how America’s environmental protections can survive the Trump administration. Overheard by Elliot Stoller.
12/09/18·10m 8s

Under the Weather

Mary and Maeve learn how all of our access to the very basics - clean air, clean water, livable temperatures - are at risk as well as the mental health implications of the destruction of the natural world. We meet a Black Lives Matter activist who believes that black neighbourhoods would be safer with less police and more trees. We speak to Siwatu Salama-Ra, a prolific environmental justice campaigner currently incarcerated in Detroit, Michigan and we spend time with a Traditional Custodian of the Fitzroy river in western Australia, currently at risk from fracking and industrial developments to consider our spiritual connection with nature.   This week’s mothers of Invention are: Stella Hartinger - Lima, Peru Doctor and researcher exploring the global health impacts of climate change and fossil fuel pollution. Contributor to the Lancet Countdown report. Sarra Tekola - Phoenix, Arizona Black Lives Matter activist, scientist and academic working on a PhD in Sustainability at Arizona State University. Co-founder of Women of Color Speak Out. @wocspeakout Siwatu Salama-Ra - Detroit, Michigan Climate justice activist. Co-Director of the East Michigan Environmental Action Council, building community power through environmental justice education, youth development, and collaborative relationship building. Learn about the campaign to free her from prison at Anne Poehlina - Kimberley, Western Australia Nyikina Warrwa Traditional Custodian and academic working to promote new economy opportunities and green collar jobs for Indigenous people.   News clip from Democracy Now! Amy Goodman: On This Earth Day, Demand Freedom for Siwatu-Salama Ra Radio news clip, story from Sarah Cwiek on Michigan Radio (NPR)
03/09/18·46m 36s

BONUS: The Greatest Taxi Driver in New York

Taking into account Uber and Lyft there's now around 60,000 cabs in New York City — but Maeve thinks she's found the very best of them who's on a mission to effect change while on the move...
30/08/18·3m 8s

Taking Over

This week Mary and Maeve turn up the volume on the women who are helping us consciously-uncouple from our toxic relationship with single-use plastic, a material created to be used for mere minutes but designed to last for thousands of years.   This week’s mothers of invention are Judi Wakhungu and Alice Kaudia - Kenyan politicians who created global headlines when they unleashed a $38,000 USD fine on anyone found using, making or distributing plastic bags. Sian Sutherland -  British co-founder of A Plastic Planet and creator of the world’s first fully-functioning plastic-free supermarket aisle in Amsterdam. Chelsea Briganti - American self-taught materials engineer and entrepreneur about to unleash 55bn edible straws onto the world Rachelle Strauss - British founder of #ZeroWasteWeek - a global online campaign against household waste born from one family kitchen. Katharine K. Wilkinson - lead writer for the New York Times bestseller Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever proposed to Reverse Global Warming —the #1 environmental book of 2017.   The Graduate clip from The Graduate/ Mike Nichols- Lawrence Turman Productions/ Embassy Pictures/ United Artists Shark Tank clip from Shark Tank/ Mark Burnett Productions/ABC/Disney
20/08/18·47m 40s

BONUS: Hello, Maeve Calling

True to her word, Maeve has decided to divest her own personal savings. Here’s the phone call when she lets her bank know...
12/08/18·5m 10s

The White Man Stole the Weather

Mary and Maeve are talking about money, money.   Fighting climate change might be a moral necessity but women are learning to hit vested interests where it hurts the most, in the pocket. They hear from South Africa where the anti-apartheid movement demonstrated the power of the boycott in the 80s before flipping the same tactics to the climate fight.  In the US, a wave of organised student campaigning on campuses is helping popularise the divestment movement but it was Standing Rock when indigenous women’s leadership took divestment into the big time, with billions of dollars now moving out of fossil fuels. This week’s Mothers of Invention are: Yvette Abrahams (South Africa) Yvette Abrahams has worked across climate justice, gender rights, food security, economics, indigenous plant research. Her activism began in the anti-apartheid struggle in her native South Africa.   May Boeve  (US) May Boeve is the Executive Director of, an international movement using online campaigns, grassroots organising and mass public actions to oppose fossil fuel projects, and build 100% clean energy solutions that work for all.   Tara Houska  (First Nation, US) Tara Houska, Ojibwe from Couchiching First Nation, is an attorney and National Campaigns Director of Honor the Earth More at Follow the series on all social media using @mothersinvent to find out more, support the women in the series and get your hands on bonus material throughout the season.  
05/08/18·37m 1s

All Rise

  Mary and Maeve are laying down the law. Three years ago, 886 ordinary Dutch citizens sued their government over climate change... and won. Tessa Khan, a Bangladeshi-Australian lawyer is in the studio to talk new legal strategies for climate action. Her organisation is currently helping to sue not one, but six governments around the world for failing to protect their citizens and across the US, it’s the next generation who are rising to take Trump to court. This week’s Mothers of Invention are: Tessa Khan (Australia) International human rights lawyer helping citizens take their governments to court over climate change.   Marjan Minnesma  (Amsterdam, Netherlands) Director of Urgenda, Driving force behind the world's first climate liability lawsuit, and its historic victory.   Our Children’s Trust Plaintiffs  (USA, India and across the world) Kelsey Juliana, Victoria Barrett and Ridhima Pandey: young people suing their governments to protect their future. More at Follow the series on all social media using @mothersinvent to find out more, support the women in the series and get your hands on bonus material throughout the season.  
22/07/18·43m 38s

BONUS: What the Actual Paris?!

Before Maeve and Mary’s new podcast series can truly begin, Maeve’s got a confession to make; she doesn’t really, properly, understand what the Paris Climate Agreement actually is.   Luckily her co-host, the former Irish President, is more than happy to take her to school.   Let Maeve’s pain be your gain in this punchy Paris primer... Subscribe at and follow the series on all social media using @mothersinvent to find out more, support the women in the series and get your hands on bonus material throughout the season.  
22/07/18·4m 40s

Introducing Mothers of Invention - Launching 23rd July

Climate change is a man-made problem with a feminist solution! Join former Irish President Mary Robinson and comedian Maeve Higgins in this uplifting and fascinating new podcast, and meet a host of game-changing women fighting to save all our lives.  Launching on Monday 23rd July, across six entertaining and inspiring episodes released every other Monday to start your week, this Summer Mary and Maeve will chew over the big issues of climate change, giving us the inside track on the corridors of power AND introducing us to amazing women all over the world - our Mothers of Invention. They are scientists in Africa, they are farmers in Asia, politicians in Brussels, they are indigenous community leaders in America, they are lawyers, they are activists and they are solving climate problems every. Single. Day. Whether you’re a man, woman, vegetable or mineral, subscribe now wherever you listen to your podcasts and share this entertaining new series which is a must-listen for anyone who believes that climate change is real and wants to to find a more fun way into the climate challenge ahead of all of us. Follow the series on all social media using @mothersinvent to find out more, support the women in the series and get your hands on bonus material throughout the season.  
16/07/18·1m 47s
Heart UK