Climate Change Micro Projects Come Together at Climathon
Posted on 29 Mar 2023
In 2022, a global community celebrated the Climathon. Over 56 cities from around the world hosted micro-events to address climate change and weather adaptation. The aim was to enable new ideas to flow, be developed, discussed and perhaps lead to a greener and more sustainable future for us all.
Participants were varied, and included policymakers, hackers, youth groups, academics, students and business leaders - all came together to collaborate on forward-thinking ideas that tackle local climate challenges.
Being locally hosted, each Climathon can be specific to the needs of an individual city, but at the same time have the support of a global community. There are local competitions held, the winners then proceed to a global final. The Climathon also highlights issues that local cities and communities are facing, giving them a global platform, and helping ideas flow around the world.
Floating Philippines Farms
South-East Asia is facing increasing challenges in producing enough food for its growing population. The city of Pasig in the Philippines has created an innovative solution that brings together a mobile app and floating farms to bring a food source close to local communities, avoiding expensive and polluting transport and storage. The floating farms address the lack of available farmland in the area, and can be used to both grow new food as well as composting biodegradable waste. The solution addresses the two prerequisites - that food production needs to be both sustainable and accessible.
With 99% of all the available land already utilized, there was very little scope for developing new areas for agriculture. A small finding grant was supplied by the local government as a result of the exposure gained through the local Climathon and resulting news coverage.
The project aims to be self-sustaining, as well as providing jobs to the local community. It is developing site-specific technologies that create a two layer floating farm with plants taking in metallic toxins on the bottom layer, and the edible harvest on the top layer.
Compost balls made from food waste are also placed into the water to clean the river, and remove any pollutants.
The 2020 Climathon in Stuttgart was held in the form of a hackathon that brought together Impact Hubs from around Germany. There were a total of 14 challenges that included themes such as the shared economy, green influencers, mobility, citizen engagement and sustainable living.
The winner was the Green Invest App, which is still in development, but aims to remove the barrier to green investment from the wider community. People can invest from £8 into new green start-up businesses, and bring together the ideas of both sustainability and crowdfunding. The project has drawn the attention of a major social media organization that is working alongside the developers to help them achieve their ambition.
Icelandic startup GreenBytes attracted £120,000 investment to develop an AI app that allows restaurants to cut down on food waste, saving both money and the environment. The restaurant enters their menu into the app, which then calculates the exact amount of raw produce that the restaurant needs to purchase, along with suggested suppliers. If the restaurant approves the suggestion, the app can automatically place the order with the suppliers as well as manage stock levels, giving a more streamlined and integrated solution to restaurant management.
Sudanese sustainable energy start-up Artik also attracted multiple awards with their idea to provide an energy solution supplying energy-efficient lighting, solar rooftops, solar water pumps, and small solar system kites for a wide range of applications. The founders provide energy audits to identify the most cost effective and sustainable solution to a specific need. The aim is to not just create long term energy solutions to Sudan and beyond, but also generate local-level employment and enabling women in local communities.
Team Alo (meaning “light” in Bengali) aimed to overcome one of the main hurdles of consumer solar energy acceptance - the initial high cost of the product and installation. They produce custom made solar cells that can be made to different sizes according to the needs of the customer. They also developed a number of novel products that incorporated solar panels into their design, as well as an app to help city dwellers utilize solar energy to a greater level.
UK based team AirPublic realized that the network of air pollution monitors around London was very limited, and as a result did not give an accurate view of the state of the air around the streets. They developed both mobile and static air monitors that can be fitted to lamposts, buildings or vehicles. They developed a trial beta dashboard to give accurate and actionable insights into the quality of air around London to help local authorities and organizations plan and address pollution issues.
Partnerships were developed with a number of groups including OrganCity, an organization that aims to support experimentation and discussions with urban communities to address common issues that face urbanites around the world.
The 2017 Climathon in Florence addressed resilience and extreme weather solutions. StuartPark prototyped an award winning solution in a park in Prato, Italy. The new park aims to change what it sees as outdated urban green space design to create a natural solution that understands the importance of not just the space itself, but also the need to provide information and knowledge about climate issues to the community.
The dates for the next global Climathon are still to be announced, but will span a wide range of formats to reflect the needs of the participants. It will also include for the first time ‘Young Climathons’, aimed at including youth groups and secondary schools into the global discussion.
The Weather Perspective
A critical element in developing new ideas, processes and applications is the knowledge that past weather data can give. OpenWeather provides a number of weather APIs that can give rich and accurate historical (as well as present and forecast) weather data for any global location. The History API Full Archive gives a full archive of historical weather data by chosen location from 1 January 1979 until now with a finely grained one hour step. In addition, the OpenWeather One Call API 3.0 is a convenient and versatile product that can be used to access all your essential weather data for any geographical location, including a history by timestamp for 40 years back.
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