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Friday Fun: Hacking Our Way to Global Climate Action with #Climathon
Hackathon technology cell phone

By drawing on the expertise and insights of the public, hackathons, like #Climathon, can be a tool for generating action and innovative solutions at a local level. Photo by kris krüg/Flickr.

Yesterday was an incredibly significant day for climate change action. Not only did the highly anticipated release of Pope Francis’ Climate Change Encyclical, which calls for people worldwide—regardless of religious affiliation—to make more sustainable lifestyle and consumption choices,  inspire action at a global scale. Residents of cities around the world also addressed the challenges within their own local context at #Climathon. Organized by Climate-KIC, the EU’s main climate innovation initiative, the #Climathon spanned 24 hours and 6 continents with a single, unified goal: to give teams of “students, start-ups and (budding) entrepreneurs, big thinkers, technical experts or app developers,” the opportunity to work together on local climate solutions.

This exciting day-long event took place in 16 cities around the world on Thursday, June 18th, and focused on the overarching themes of collaboration and innovation. By bringing the brightest local minds together in one venue, citizens from all walks of life and various backgrounds were given the opportunity to work collaboratively to develop solutions to challenges that had been established by their respective cities. At the end of the 24 hour #Climathon, a jury of local stakeholders will select the most innovative and feasible solution in each city. The winning teams will go on to be featured prominently as part of Climate-KIC’s participation in COP21—the UN Conference on Climate Change—this December in Paris. In the months leading up to COP21, the winning teams from every city will be mentored, receive entrepreneurship coaching, and gain access to business and city experts, as well as additional resources from Climate-KIC’s European knowledge network. The idea is to equip promising teams with the tools they need to turn their innovative ideas into reality.

The goal? A global movement to create sustainable, locally-tailored solutions to combat climate change in cities around the world.

With the COP21 UN Conference on Climate Change just a few months away, events like the #Climathon are an incredible way to get people engaged with both local and global communities. The threats posed by climate change can often seem frustratingly insurmountable, and the average person may not think he or she has the power to shape sustainable development. How can one person curb greenhouse gas emissions in an overpopulated city like New Delhi, improve waste management practices in Washington, D.C., or confront the rapid loss of biodiversity in São Paulo? From individual citizens, to cities, to entire continents, collective action is essential to overcoming these critical global challenges. Though these issues can sometimes be daunting, events like #Climathon that give the average citizen a voice—an invaluable chance to make a real difference in his or her community, and in the world.

Why is collective action so important? Because the solutions are within us all.

Climate-KIC and local city partners are helping to elevate individual voices and new ideas at the UN Conference on Climate Change. Follow #JourneyToParis in the weeks leading up to COP21 to learn more about the innovative individuals and low-carbon initiatives involved in Climate-KIC’s work. Here at TheCityFix, we’ll be sure to be tuned in to the conversation, and we can’t wait to hear more about the exciting ideas springing up in cities around the world everyday.

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