Tuesday, September 9, 2014

You're Invited: Climate Hack Twin Cities

It's still officially summer, but Farmers' Almanac predicts a "frigid and flaky" winter for Minnesota in 2015. Ready to take on the weather? You can keep your snowsuit packed away for now, and suited up this weekend to collaborate with environmental groups and activists and the civic tech community at the local Hack4Good Hack Against Climate Change event, "Climate Hack Twin Cities!" 

Climate Hack Twin Cities

The Hack4Good Hack Against Climate Change is a global event happening around Climate Week NYC and the Sept. 24th UN Summit on Climate Change. In Minneapolis, we're using this event as inspiration to explore the potential for environmental groups and activists to collaborate with the civic tech community to create innovative solutions to climate-related problems using technology.

The first half of the event will include a tour of the MIA's new Nature of Nature exhibit, followed by a couple of sessions introducing hackathons and civic hacking. We will be highlighting some previous hackathon projects, including Airstatus, a web application that displays air quality data from multiple sources onto one map and also allows you to text your zip code to get your local air quality data. We’ll take a break in the middle for lunch, and the second half will be an open discussion where participants can start to develop ideas for future collaborations and hackathon projects.

Event details
Date: Saturday, Sept. 13
Time: 10am-2pm (Doors will open at 9:30am)
2400 Third Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404

How you can contribute
There are many ways to be involved with this event:
  • Submit data- know of any climate-related data sets or useful resources? Send them to contact@opentwincities.org
  • Participate- come to the event! Bring an open mind and ideas to share.
    • Climate content knowledge- do you work on climate issues or are you an activist? We need you to help us identify problems that can potentially be solved using technology.
    • Tech skills- are you a civic hacker? We need you to help us figure out what technology can do to solve these problems.
    • Any other knowledge and skills. Addressing climate change needs all of your brilliant minds!

What are the goals of this event?
Some potential outcomes of our Twin Cities event could include:
  • List of climate related datasets identified for further use through OTC
  • List of climate related problems identified that might be solved with datasets that we can post to the global site or use at a future hackathon
  • Feedback to data providers on data sets
  • Small-scale actual project like data viz of some climate data
  • Identify data needs not met
  • Networking and collaboration between activists and civic hackers
  • Whatever else you make happen!

Event Agenda
9:30am - Doors Open
10am - Tour of Nature by Nature MIA exhibit
10:30am - Introduction to hackathons, conversation about potential outcomes of this event
11am - for climate people: workshop on working with data
11am- for hacker people: some context on climate
11:30am - Lunch
12:00pm - Unconference: participants design the second half!


More about the global event

The global #hack4good 0.6 hack against catastrophic climate change aims to mobilize software engineers, product designers and technology innovators who care about climate change to come together and make a difference. Participant teams will put together projects over the two days of the event and submit them for judging on the global website. Winners will be presented in New York City as part of Climate Week, a series of events surrounding the UN Climate Summit on Sept. 24.

More about our Twin Cities event:
We are not doing the full two-day hackathon. Instead, we are hoping to use this global challenge as a catalyst to bring together two Twin Cities communities: the civic tech community, who have been actively solving civic problems with technology for more than two years, and climate change activists, the numerous organizations and individuals working on climate solutions at the local, state, national, and global levels. We hope to start a conversation about solving climate-related problems with civic tech solutions.

The global partners have identified three broad climate themes: awareness- creating the understanding and will to act, adaptation- preparing for and mitigating effects, and action- limiting emissions. In addition, they have identified 15 challenge areas for participating teams who wish to submit code to the challenge for judging. We plan to use these challenge areas more as a guide or suggestions, as we are not participating in the full two-day event and don’t plan to submit code for judging.

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