How do we combat climate change? Climathon addressed the challenges in a 24 hour global ‘hackathon’ in Birmingham and over 150 cities worldwide. Traditional approaches are not working, so what can we do, and how can we encourage more people to join us in tackling climate change?
Citizens and consumers in cities across the world, like in Birmingham, need to be better included in climate innovation if we are to effect climate change. Our habits shape both economy and social systems and have impact on global issues like climate change. During the course of the Climathon day, a team of local Students and residents, Entrepreneurs, City Council Officers and Climate Change experts visited different communities and different initiatives across Birmingham to test out existing assumptions on ‘what works with climate related behaviour change’, what the barriers are, and found solutions.
Climathon started early and as we met at the top of Alpha tower at dawn we saw the city come to life – We saw the infrastructure of the city becoming busy and clogged. How do we balance the need for an efficient workforce, in the right place at the right time, with the protection of common assets like clean air and green space?
We then visited many locations across Birmingham throughout the day and met many Birmingham citizens discussing their perspective and thoughts to help find a solution. Not surprisingly we didn’t come up with a single solution, but a series of activities and initiatives to raise awareness and develop responsibility and action to change our behaviours effecting climate change.
- A Trump Cards Carbon footprint game that could be played on the Active Streets project to bring awareness to citizens
- Develop a ‘social movement’ to share learning and bring people together as well as provide practical advice and information to diverse and deprived communities
- Explore air monitoring opportunities with schools, using this as a way of increasing awareness and promoting behaviour change with the community around the school
- Work with professionals developing climate change initiatives to ensure that the professionals include the views and voices of and from the community
These are four relatively simple and broad solutions. Any ‘social movement’ cannot have fixed ideas before it starts, but we have to start somewhere. This means working together to test existing solutions, improve them and find new ways. It’s about breaking down barriers, getting more Birmingham citizens involved, putting more into their communities, understanding and addressing key challenges in Climate Change, responding to our local environment, mindful of global change.
The Trump cards carbon footprint game came from our youngest participants, Freya and Sasha, aged nine. They have already taken their idea to a local Youth Group, Woodcraft Folk, who will begin working to develop a pilot pack of cards Thursday 22nd November.
Our Climathon journey is beginning with a solution generated by local children working together with other children to raise awareness and suggesting actions for other young people to influence our citizens across Birmingham to take on the challenge of Climate Change.
‘If we can bring communities together as a whole then we can have a real momentum to create change at a local level and hopefully that can escalate through different communities’
Beccy Marston, participant
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