Sharing of climate change ideas at #Climathon

Share ideas, connect and collaborate with others, and generate an innovative solution to a climate change challenge within 24 hours – that was the goal of #Climathon.

NZ Centre for Sustainable Cities was pleased to support Wellington’s participation in this global event. Here’s what happened, as told by Kim van Sparrentak, one of the team members.



Sixty people gathered on Friday evening with the “simple” mission to present a new innovative idea to battle climate change. Split up in themes, each group started to frame the problems surrounding climate change. I was part of the business and policy group, where we discussed many issues, such as corporate power, stagnation and unwillingness to act. The end goal of Friday was to come up with 3 solutions to work on the next day. As easy as it was to come up with problems, formulating solutions wasn’t so easy. My group went home disillusioned, hoping we would come up with something after a good nights’ rest.

When we met again on Saturday morning, the group transformed into a motivated idea-machine. By 11 am we had a plan. Having to come up with a good, presentable, feasible, tangible idea within 24 hours forced us to be open-minded and decide quickly. We decided to create a tool that helps small and medium-sized businesses to manage their resources better without having to engage in complicated accreditation schemes or hire a resource manager. This tool can firstly be implemented on a local, urban level, but will be easy to upscale afterwards.

The second day was all about experimenting: talking with people, pitching the idea and learning as much as possible. We decided to try out our idea in the real world. We visited several shops and pitched our idea to managers and employees to get a better understanding of the needs and interests of the retail sector. After debriefing as a group, we had about one hour left to finalise the idea, come up with a name and create a 3-minute proposal. Then at 6 pm, 24 hours after we first gathered, 10 teams pitched their ideas to each other and the judges.

The jury picked 3 teams that stood out:

  • Our Space, a team focussed on creating spaces within the sharing economy in Wellington
  • Conscious Commuters, a plan to integrate sustainable transportation in the Wellington region
  • And our team, that finally had a name: Po0ol!

These will continue working on their projects with the help of other experts. Finally, one team will get the opportunity to compete with teams from other cities for a chance to present their plan in Paris at the COP21 Climate Summit in December.

The 24-hour pressure and the international participants in my team boosted creativity and efficiency and created a strong team in a very short period of time. I can’t wait to continue working with them and develop this plan further. Paris, here we come!?!

Radio NZ interview with Kim

Kim speaking on urban regeneration

Wellington start-up in top three at Paris Climate Conference