Event RecapBack
Climathon 2017 Hong Kong: Taking Up the Challenge for a Zero Carbon Hong Kong

“Climathon 2017”, a global environmental highlight, concluded successfully on 28th October. Passionate participants of Hong Kong, together with their counterparts from over 100 cities around the world, engaged themselves in a 24-hour hackathon to brainstorm together on how to tackle global climate challenge. Climathon was established by Climate-KIC, a European climate initiative. With climate challenge as its theme, the Climathon was simultaneously held in various major cities around the world. Participants were divided into groups to discuss climate change issues facing their own city, as well as to design adaptive solutions. Since the first Climathon held in 2015, the number of participants has been growing fast. This year, more than 100 cities took part in the Climathon, including London, Paris and Busan of South Korea, making it the biggest of its kind in history.

Hong Kong people were invited to come up with innovative solutions for these environmental issues facing our city: (1) heat island effect; (2) energy mix; (3) waste management; and (4) extreme weather.

Organised by “Jockey Club Open CarbonCare Open Innovation Lab” of CarbonCare Inno Lab, co-organised by The Education University of Hong Kong, the opening ceremony of “Climathon 2017 Hong Kong” was held at 7pm on 27th October at The Education University of Hong Kong. Officiating guests included Mr Paul Zimmerman, Chairman of the Professional Commons; Mr Chan Kai Ming, Director of Student Affairs of the Education University of Hong Kong; and Ir Albert Lai, Co-Founder and Advisor of CarbonCare InnoLab. They put the stickers of Hong Kong and a few other participating cities onto a world map to symbolize the connection between Hong Kong and other cities in the fight against climate change. When sharing his insights on the four environmental issues, Mr Zimmerman responded to the recent tightening of waste import in mainland China and urged the government to strengthen waste management policies as well as to adopt more innovative ideas, such as the installation of double glazed windows in buildings. Mr Chan Kai Ming, who used to work in a hazard prevention organization, remarked that most natural hazards were actually caused by climate change. Compared to older generations, this generation had been able to take fuller advantage of the world’s natural resources but as a result, brought greater impact to the world. Our generation, therefore, had the obligation to protect this place. Ir Albert Lai reiterated that the impact of climate change was imminent, judging from how Tai O and Heng Fa Chuen suffered from the recent typhoon. We can no longer uphold a  “business as usual” attitude, he maintained, and there should be no further delay in resolving climate challenge.

After the Opening Ceremony, participants moved to the activity room to continue with the next activity. Ir Albert Lai briefed on the four climate challenges the participants have to solve. Then, participants formed and built teams through Asset Mapping game, idea pitching and deep connection questions. Over the night, more than thirty participants grouped themselves into seven teams to discuss possible solutions to climate issues facing Hong Kong and to get themselves ready for the general sharing in the next afternoon. Apart from group discussion, the organizers also arranged various sessions for participants, including light workouts, visit to the green facilities of the university campus, Briefing on pitching skills and video dialogue with five cities, including Zurich, Busan, Venice, Suzhou and Washington. These five cities had similar climate challenges with Hong Kong. Participants from Hong Kong and these cities shared their initial solution to the climate challenges they chose with the others, and commented on each others’ ideas. At the briefing pitching skill section, Mr Larry Li, Talent Development Manager of Education for Good, briefed participants pitching skills using interesting examples.

After more than 10 hours of discussion, the seven teams returned to the lecture hall and shared their discussion results. In the end, the judging panel gave the Grand Award to the “Cool City” team for their innovative idea of applying reflective paints on walls of buildings to lower the heat effect and add graffiti elements to attract the public. The seven teams include “Cool City”, which used reflective paint to lower temperature of buildings and using graffiti to attract public’s attention; “Energy Mixer” worked on the idea of footstep power generation; “FreeFill 1.0+” designed a drink refill machine accompanying “bring your own bottle” to replace bottle drinks; “Paper Carbon Meter” planned to provide carbon audit service for campus and office, using reward plan to encourage students to reduce paper waste; “Pro Recyler” planned to educate and enhance plastic waste recycling; “U-tensials” planned to set reusable tableware vending machine in areas packed with street stalls; “The Panacea” planned to provide carbon reducing and energy saving facilities to buildings.

The Closing Ceremony of “Climathon 2017 Hong Kong” was held at 4 pm on 28 October, which coincided with the finale of the campus-wide environmental  programme “Take it Simple” initiated by the Education University of Hong Kong. At the closing ceremony, the winning team was awarded the grand prize of HK$4,000 for project development by Ms Vivian Lee, Senior Charities Manager of The Hong Kong Jockey Club. The team’s suggestion will be submitted to Climate-KIC as a reference for other cities. Mr Chong Chan Yau, Co-Founder and Advisor of CaronCare InnoLab and Dr Yu Kar Ming, Dean of Students of the Education University of Hong Kong both gave a closing remark. Mr Chong Chan Yau praised the teams for their innovative ideas and their multiplicity. He regarded this occasion as the starting point for future deliberations. He encouraged everyone to turn their green ideas into action, as a commitment to make zero-carbon Hong Kong a reality. In his concluding remark for the “Take it Simple” programme, Dr Yu Kar Ming reminded everyone that excessive consumption comes with a heavy price and he encouraged participants and students to continue with a “simple living” lifestyle.