Climathon rallies an international city movement to tackle climate change

Thousands of people in major cities across the world are uniting for a 24-hour hackathon on 28 October to accelerate our ability to respond to climate change on a global scale.

Climate-KIC’s 2016 Climathon brings together specific urban challenges with the people who have the passion and ability to solve them. More than 59 cities across 36 countries on 6 continents have set up a local climate change challenge for teams to respond to.

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Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the EIT, said: “Young people have a vital role in tackling global challenges such as climate change. We need to ensure they can participate fully in making the change Europe needs. With this in mind, the EIT’s Climate-KIC Climathon can make a big contribution to training a new generation of entrepreneurs and innovators.”

Also See: Thousands to Pull Climate Action All-Nighter in Cities Around The World

24-hour marathon session

Students, entrepreneurs, big thinkers, technical experts and app developers around the world will take action by coming up with innovative solutions to these challenges in the 24-hour marathon session. You can follow the developments via the Climathon website and hashtag on Facebook and Twitter.

Some cities made an early start on Thursday, with the final cities expected to finish on Saturday 29 October.

Challenges addressed by participants in Europe include London‘s air quality problem, Berlin‘s waste management situation and the recycling strategy in Paris. Other cities registered to participate in the Climathon include Toronto, Sydney, Bogota, Trondheim and Shanghai. Check out the overview for the full list of participants.

“The science of climate change is indisputable, but the problem often seems so removed from everyday reality that organisations have for many years struggled to engage citizens,” said Ebrahim Mohamed, Director of Education at Climate-KIC.

City-level action

“The Climathon changes this, providing the critical impetus for city citizens, innovators, business experts and policy makers to come together in a global climate movement to solve one of the most pressing issues of our time,” Mohamed said.

City-level action to address climate change is needed at speed and scale. Cities already contribute over 70 per cent of global carbon emissions and are rapidly growing, with 70 per cent of the world’s population expected to live in cities by 2050.

Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Ontario Province, Canada, said: “Climate change is a global problem and to fight it, we need collaboration on a global scale and from all levels of government. We need everyone doing their part to find solutions.”

Participants in Toronto are looking for ways big data can help reduce the carbon emissions from the city’s transportation grid.

“Innovators in clean technology are going to find new and expanding opportunities here in Ontario. I’m pleased to be part of Toronto’s first Climathon and I’m encouraged to see the enthusiasm and creativity of students and entrepreneurs who can’t wait to get started in the low-carbon economy,” Murray said.

Global network

This year’s event builds on the success of the inaugural Climathon, which saw teams in 20 cities across six continents come together to identify – and work on solutions for – local urban climate change problems.

The event connects participants to a “global network and enhances crucial skills such as team-work, creativity and openness that are vital to help young people find fulfilling work, become engaged citizens and help build the Europe of the future,” Commissioner Navracsics said.

Ideas that emerged from the 2015 hack ranged from encouraging cycling in Copenhagen, conscientious and cost-effective means of river or stream reclamation in Addis Ababa, to public-private partnerships to reduce food waste in Washington DC.

Mohamed added: Last year’s teams were inspired and motivated by their counterparts in cities around the world, and many have gone on to form successful businesses and public-private partnerships that are helping to ensure the impacts of climate change are mitigated.”

Climathon locations include major universities, research centres, government facilities and corporate offices around the world.

Visit our newsroom for the full Climathon press release.

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