15 January 2018
Birmingham Climathon: How can climate innovations improve public health?
The Climate-KIC Climathon is a global 24-hour climate change event which will take place simultaneously in major cities around the world on 28 October 2016.
In Birmingham, the Climate-KIC Climathon will begin on the morning of the 28 October BST and finish on the following day. It is organised by Innovation Birmingham and Birmingham City Council, and aims to improve public health that has been affected by human activities.
Over the last 50 years, human activities – particularly the burning of fossil fuels – have released sufficient quantities of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to trap additional heat in the lower atmosphere and affect the global climate. Climate change affects social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter. Indeed, high air temperatures contribute directly to deaths from cardiovascular and respiratory disease, particularly among elderly people. In the heat wave of summer 2003 in Europe for example, more than 70 000 excess deaths were recorded
Like any big city, Birmingham faces a number of public health challenges. Many policies and individual choices have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and produce major health co-benefits. For example, cleaner energy systems, and promoting the safe use of public transportation and active movement – such as cycling or walking as alternatives to using private vehicles – could reduce carbon emissions, and cut the burden of household air pollution, which causes some 4.3 million deaths per year, and ambient air pollution, which causes about 3.7 million deaths every year.
The challenge is to identify climate innovations and solutions which can produce these health co-benefits for Birmingham through changing citizen behaviours.
Pitching to expert judges
The Climathon event will culminate in presentation of each group’s idea in front of panel members who will provide valuable feedback. The panel is comprised of different science and business experts.
Birmingham City Council