— Galina (@gavchik77) October 26, 2018
By Tarryn McGuire
On 26 October, in an attempt to pioneer innovative ideas towards global climate action, NUI Galway led the event ‘Climathon Galway 2018’, with an aim to reduce Galway city’s carbon footprint.
Galway’s innovators joined over 100 cities across 44 different countries to generate new ideas to steer the city towards the future of a zero carbon economy.
The free, one day event harnessed the energy of anyone involved to address a range of sustainability challenges with the goal of improving Galway city’s resilience to climate change, reducing its carbon footprint and improving the quality of life for all of Galway’s citizens.
This year’s Climathon was the biggest global climate action hackathon in history – a sprint – like event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development collaborate intensively on a software project.
In previous years the #Climathon hashtag has also trended worldwide and last year reached 33 million through social media.
This year early results indicate that it reached at least double that.
The event encouraged groups and individuals to take part and join Challenge teams, which aimed to address a range of sustainability challenges.
From energy efficient buildings, to substitution of plastics, these innovations hope to lead Galway to a carbon free future.
Each team was encouraged to develop their own innovative ideas throughout the day and a pitch competition took place at the end of the day before a judging panel.
Prizes were awarded to the top three teams as well as support and advice to progress their innovations on to entrepreneurship programmes.
These programmes will then develop their innovations into funded projects and start – up companies.
NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute once again hosted the Global Climathon hackathon. This is the third year that Galway has participated in this event.
TechInnovate and the Portershed in Galway’s Innovation District also partnered with NUI Galway this year.
Roughly, the top 100 highest – footprint cities across the world make up 20 per cent of the global carbon footprint.
If all of these cities made greater efforts to reduce their carbon footprints it would make a significant impact on decarbonisation pathways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally.
Professor Charles Spillane, Director of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, highlights that “cities consume over two thirds of the world’s energy and account for more than 70 per cent of global CO2 emissions.”
“With 90 per cent of the world’s urban areas situated on coastlines, cities are at high risk from some of the devastating impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels and powerful coastal storms.
“Coastal cities such as Galway are on the frontlines of global climate change and are well-positioned to play a leadership role with sister cities worldwide in driving global action to address climate change.”
The event united students, entrepreneurs, big thinkers, technical experts and app developers in tackling the defining climate challenges of their cities.
Some teams even worked throughout the night to apply their ideas to local contexts before pitching them to hosts.
Dr David Styles and Dr Peter McKeown from the MSc in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security program at NUI Galway stated: “Galway can lead in this global challenge, having been in the firing line of a number of powerful storms over the past few years.”
“It is therefore apt that Galway harnesses the creativity and international innovation leadership for which it is renowned to lead global efforts in climate mitigation.”