Join youth from across the world in this two-day challenge to create solutions for our climate crisis!

About the Challenge:

Climate change is among the most urgent issues of our time.

In fact, the warmest seven years on record have all been since 2015. Up to one million species are at risk of extinction due to climate change. Hundreds of millions of poeple will be displaced from their homes because of it. The Climate Action Tracker anticipates a 4 degrees increase in global temperatures by 2100 if we keep with our current trajectories… The delicate balance that we have on Earth is at risk.

So, what do we do about it? The need for action & innovation is more urgent than ever. And to make headway in addressing the problem, it will not be a “magic bullet” that solves everything, but rather the joint efforts of engineers, artists, coders, educators, politicians, business-people & others coordinating with a variety of diverse solutions to make both individual and collective impact.

Our challenge: Can you (together) create that next key solution to our climate change dilemma?

It can be locally-focused, it can be globally-minded. It can be an art concept, a new machine, a code-heavy app, a proposal for an event, a plan to conserve an ecosystem, an education campaign or more. It can be a business, a non-profit concept or anything in between. It can be many things. As long as it’s built with the planet and its people in mind, working to address the climate crisis in its own unique way.

The Logistics:

Details will be finalized close to the date, with some key logistics shared:

  • Our opening ceremony is at TBD, likely on Saturday, April 29, with our deadline set at 11:49 PM EST on Saturday, April 30… Folks may work on their ideas at any point from during that weekend.
  • We do ask that you submit original ideas, which means that the ideas must not have been submitted in their current form to past hackathons or similar innovation competitions… if you are thinking of evolving a past idea in a significant way, let us know & can advise if it’ll be different enough to submit here.
  • Each team should have 2-5 members, which can come pre-formed or be finalized before/ during the hackathon with help of the organizers… In terms of helping with team formation, we will have a Slack channel TBA & also do a match-making event the Friday before for folks looking for teams/ teammates.
  • Be sure to check eligibility requirements as you make your team… Having a diverse set of people & backgrounds— including in the level of past hackathon experience— will be key!
  • During the hackathon, there will be opportunities to attend educational workshops on different issues, some related to developing skills for developing/ presenting your idea (e.g. on pitching), and others on issues around climate change (e.g. on environmental justice)….  Although not finalized, we may have bonus points or incentives to encourage folks to take advantage of these different opportunities.
  • In addition, there will be information + resources + advice shared during our intro session, via our Slack and through mentors who will be available at points during the weekend.
  • Some details above change closer to the date.

A final note that the submission itself will likely be a four-minute video (may change), with finalists then being invited to present their solutions live at a finals time TBD in the weeks following.

Our Four Challenge Themes (MAY CHANGE):

Over the course of this two-day event hackathon, we will focus on four sets of challenges that will need to addressed as we fight climate change. These are described below:

1. The Adaptation Challenge: From sea level rise to the increased extreme weather events, we must face a reality that some impacts of climate change are here to stay… And with that, comes a need to adapt our communities, infrastructure and processes to be more resilient to the new and ever-evolving reality we find ourselves in. What can you do to help with climate adaptation, locally or globally?

2. The Biodiversity Challenge: We cannot solve our climate crisis without also addressing our biodiversity crisis, and vice versa. Looking at things like mangrove restoration, coral reef regeneration or the protection of unique ecosystems like the Arctic, nature-based solutions offer some of the greatest potential to address the climate crisis. How can we protect biodiversity from climate change or use it to mitigate impacts?

3. The Capacity Challenge: Even as impacts of the climate crisis become more real, there exists much misinformation spread about on climate. And beyond this education piece, how to shift our workforce and activate humankind’s potential to act on climate is a real question… There is a lot of work we need to do to meet our climate goals, how do we develop our capacity to do so?

4. The Technology Challenge: Much of our climate dilemma coms from using carbon-heavy technologies to address problems of the past. From changing how we transport goods to how we create electricity to how we build cities differently, there is a lot in our current technology that needs to change. And the potential of engineered carbon sinks also must be explored. How can technology be used to address the climate crisis?

Our Four Lens that Every Solution Must Consider

Regardless of what theme/ challenge you choose to focus on, participants choudl also consider the following perspectives/ lenses in designing their proposed solutions:

  • An Equity & Justice Lens: Think about how your solution will impact different communities, including those most impacted by climate or who have been historically marginalized from decision-making (e.g. indigenous & racialized groups). Think also about your solution’s impacts on generations into the future.
  • A Practical Lens: Think about your timelines for action & what it will take to implement your idea. There is time pressure to act on climate, which makes it important to have those big dreams about all that can be possible (there’s SO much to be hopeful for), while grounding action to the realities of the present.
  • A Scientific Lens: Ground your solution in facts, and do research on the people + issues you are seeking to serve/ address. Even better, incorporate a two-eyed seeing approach, where you complement academic science with indigenous knowledge, learning from these inter-connected yet unique perspectives.
  • Recognize Intersectionality: While your idea may focus on one theme, it likely links to many others. For example, solar panels are a high-potential renewable energy source, yet rely on rare earth materials that can hurt biodiversity if mined improperly. Think about your solutions impact on all the themes.

The above “lens” are not specific to any solution but rather apply to any project concepts that one might develop. These are not necessarily things you will be asked about in your submission, yet must always be front-of-mind when creating new (or evolving old) solutions for the climate crisis!