This year, I’m co-organizing a Climathon in Heidelberg. Climathon is a global movement dedicated to solving local climate challenges and supported by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology. On October 25th, 2019, there will be 24-hour climate hackathons held all over the world in which developers, engineers, scientists, and innovators will gather together to tackle local climate challenges.
In preparation to a Climathon, cities identify their climate challenges. The main idea is that realistic and effective solutions developed by the Climathon participants are later implemented by the local partner organizations. Here are some success stories:
- London: mobile air pollution sensor enabling better coverage over the city area (link)
- Washington: picking up durable goods (e.g. furniture) and reselling for lower price (link)
- Zurich: an app for offering unwanted food to your neighbours (link)
- Cork: a transport app that awards citizens discounts in local stores based on the carbon savings they make (link)
- Manchester: sustainable drainage systems and community parkland architectural planning (link)
To set up climate challenges, we are currently communicating with local organizations including the Heidelberg Office of Environmental Protection, Trade Supervision and Energy, the Heidelberg Center for the Environment at the Heidelberg University, the Carbon Neutral group at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, GIScience at the Heidelberg University, Heidelberg Startup Partners, Ökostadt Rhein-Neckar e. V., as well as other organizations and companies interested in the climate-related issues.
Climate challenge ideas we started discussing so far:
- solutions for multiple-location conferences, with the goal of reducing flight CO2 emissions; run the same conference simultaneously at different locations
- factors for finding attractive cycling routes
- connecting tree bloom to local microclimate and climate change dynamics
- a sustainable behaviour campaign on the local campuses
I’ve already learned so much from these discussions. For example, that growing CO2 emissions in Heidelberg are mainly caused by overseas tourism. And which streets in Heidelberg are most dangerous for cyclists. And that there are repair cafés in the area. And what are the issues with the university campus traffic. And how waste separation is organized at EMBL. This list goes on and on and I’m looking forward to learning more.
UPDATE: Heidelberg Climathon webpage