TORONTO, CANADA – September 13, 2016: Toronto will be represented in the Climate-KIC Climathon, a global 24-hour climate change challenge organised simultaneously in major cities around the world on October 28, 2016. In Toronto, the hackathon-style event takes place from 3pm until 3pm and will focus on new, cost-effective ways to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation network of Canada's most populous city.
In Toronto, the event is organised by MaxQ Accelerator and Lighthouse Labs at Devhub, the co-working space for developers on Spadina Avenue. Climate-KIC, which first organised the international event last year, is the European Union's main climate innovation partnership and brings together universities, corporations and local governments in an effort to kick-start new solutions to climate change.
"We are very pleased to have Toronto on board this year, it is great to see a new generation of Canadians step up to find solutions to climate change. Global warming does not stop at borders, and at Climate-KIC we work to empower innovators around the world so we can work together," said Ebrahim Mohamed, the London, UK, based Director for Education at the EU's Climate-KIC.
The world is faced by an unprecedented climate crisis, and the Government of Ontario has committed to an ambitious carbon reduction strategy. Transportation alone was responsible for 34 per cent of Ontario's carbon emissions in 2012. During the Climathon event, participants will use big data in an effort to reduce the carbon emissions from the Toronto transportation grid – TTC, private, commercial and other vehicles – by 5 per cent, while keeping the solutions revenue-neutral.
"Global warming doesn't only pose challenges, it also offers massive opportunities – something we're really focused on in Europe. A low carbon economy can make our cities more pleasant and healthy to live in, reduce costs for everyone and create new sources of jobs and growth," said Mohamed.
Toronto Climathon organisers Lighthouse Labs, which was founded to educate and transform budding talent into artisan crafters of technology, and MaxQ, Canada's first space-data startup accelerator, are providing participants with data sets from the European Space Agency's Copernicus satellite network, as well as from NASA and the City of Toronto's Open Data Team.
"Decreasing costs and the miniaturization of satellites have massively increased the amount of data that is available to us. The big data from space is really opening up huge opportunities for Canadians – we can use it to radically transform our lives, and boost our economy," said Brodie Houlette, MaxQ Co-Founder and President.
After 24 intense hours of collaboration, excitement and solution-finding – both here in Toronto and, through social media, with others participating around the world – the best idea will be selected by an expert jury. The winners of the 2016 Climathon in Toronto will have their solutions sent to the City of Toronto for consideration.
A Global City
"Toronto is a global technology leader, and opportunities to help solve real-world challenges like climate change empower our next generation of tech professionals to really master the craft of software development, launch careers, and contribute to the incredible growth of our sector," says Jeremy Shaki, Co-Founder & President at Lighthouse Labs.
As a global city, Toronto sets the tone for the nation. Toronto like many other cities has undergone rapid population growth that has strained transportation infrastructure. Thanks to the resources provided by space agencies and the Toronto Open Data Team, Climathon participants will have a unique opportunity to engage with local technologists and global scientists, and collaboratively asses transit efficiencies and their impact on global climate change.
"Climate change is a great example of where big data from space, as well as from here on the ground, can have real impact. The global low-carbon market offers major opportunities for Canada's economy, and the Climathon is a great opportunity for Toronto to show that we're open for business and ready to help the world beat climate change," Houlette said.
Climate-KIC's Climathon brings together the climate change challenges of the world's cities with the people who have the passion and ability to solve them. Participants in cities such as Shanghai in China and Paris in France gather for 24 hours to engage in a climate change related problem-solving workshop. Around the world, people take direct climate action in their own cities by coming up with innovative solutions to local climate change problems.
The global challenge was organised for the first time in 2015, in the run up to the historic Paris climate summit. The iniviative was awarded a Guardian Sustainable Business award earlier this year.
The media and the public are invited to attend the judging session and awards ceremony, which will take place at 6pm on Saturday, October 29 at Devhub on Spadina. To participate in the Climathon in Toronto or to attend the awards ceremony, register at http://www.spacehack.to.
## Notes for Editors ##
Press Facilities & Contact
Members of the media are also invited to attend the Climathon throughout the day and night, please contact the organisers via [email protected] for more information or to set up interviews.
About the Climate-KIC Climathon
Last year's Climathon saw 19 cities around the world take part in the first Climathon challenge on 18 June 2015. Climathon engaged more than 2.6 million people worldwide to take climate action. Winners of the city challenges showcased their solutions during the Paris Climate Summit. Visit http://www.climathon.climate-kic.org/ for an overview of partner organisations and the climate change challenges per city. Follow the Climathon on 28 October on social media via the #Climathon hashtag or http://twitter.com/climatekic and http://facebook.com/climatekic.
Climate-KIC is the EU's largest public private partnership addressing climate change through innovation to build a zero carbon economy. We address climate change across four priority themes: urban areas, land use, production systems, and decision metrics and finance. Education is at the heart of these themes to inspire and empower the next generation of climate leaders. Climate-KIC is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union.
Decreasing entry costs and a range of new, small satellites have massively increased the amount of data that is being transmitted back to the Earth. This is opening up opportunities for using the Big Data of space to radically transform our economies, societies and lives. A new community of aerospace companies is emerging in Canada. They are developing new applications for satellite data, low-cost access to space, and new space flight and satellite technologies. MaxQ's accelerator program helps market-ready startups with an intensive program of mentoring, business development assistance and access to industry experts.
About Lighthouse Labs
Founded in 2013, Lighthouse Labs is an immersive, modern approach to teaching web and mobile software development. With a hands on curriculum built by a community of industry experts, they focus on transforming passionate people into agile programmers. Lighthouse Labs maintains unprecedented employment rates of over 95% within 3 months of graduation and has graduated over 500 students into amazing careers.