Ecopreneurs for the Climate 2017 – Apply & connect to make the world a better place

GreenBuzz Berlin, together with its partners, are delighted to announce that they have the honour if organising the upcoming Ecopreneurs for the Climate (#ECO4CLIM17) event occurring in Berlin on Tuesday 5 October 2017.  It forms part of the ‘Global Week of Green Business and the Climate Movement’ and will bring together entrepreneurs with a passion for solving climate change related issues from all over the world.

Since its establishment, Ecopreneurs for the Climate, has grown steadily into a global movement. In 2015, when the COP21 Summit was held in Paris, France it reached seven cities in four different countries. In 2016, these numbers tripled, and 22 events were held across 16 different countries in preparation for the COP22 Summit in Marrakech, Morocco. Now they are building up to the COP23 Summit to be held in Bonn, Germany in November 2017. Commenting on the chance to help the campaign expand further, and to involve Berliners and Germans, Ulrike Hinz, one of the GreenBuzz Berlin co-founders believes that “Bringing together different actors in the start-up, climate and sustainability scene will help form a viable strategy to tackle climate change particularly at a working level to bring visions and goals into practice.”

The events themselves, across the different cities consist of expert panel discussions, awareness raising and other climate change related activities involving passionate individuals and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The panel will focus on the question ‘How can small companies or projects tackle big climate problems?’, a highly critical topic when trying to make climate protection happen through a bottom-up approach. In addition to this, leading ecopreneurs will have the opportunity to participate in the Climate Champion Awards where they will be given an opportunity to present and pitch their ideas in front of a judging panel. One global winner has the chance to participate in and present themselves at the upcoming COP23 negotiations.

By giving ecopreneurs the opportunity to showcase their innovative ideas and/or businesses GreenBuzz and it its partners hopes to enable an environment where people and SMEs come together, promote their ideas and work together on improving and implementing them. Given that wide ranging changes are required in our businesses and livelihoods in order to combat climate change and meet the targets of the Paris Agreement, innovative and outside-the-box innovations and new solutions should be widely encouraged. Hinz wishes to ”Bring together smaller and bigger actors and enable change towards the better. We need bright minds with innovative ideas to tackle our climate challenges. Otherwise, we will have a huge problem in the future.”

One area in which participating ecopreneurs could be encouraged to design and showcase their solutions is in the field of climate change and health. Solutions presented could potentially do some or all of the following. They might create tools that empower the public to take action by providing information about climate change’s health impacts or the health benefits of actions taken to reduce greenhouse gases. They might help health and other professionals by showcasing support tools that they can use to fight climate change and better promote their work. They might empower academic institutions, policy makers and other researchers to analyse climate change and health data in more innovative ways in order to move research forward in key areas. They might challenge and encourage private sector organisations to use their own climate change and health data with their own data in order to develop innovative decision support tools or address important research questions. Or they might design a completely new solution.

Breeze Technologies, the 2016 runner up of the Ecopreneurs for the Climate event is an example of a climate change solution which is empowering academic institutions, policy makers, health professionals and others to analyse and use data differently. The small-scale, air quality sensors they have developed can be used to collect data on air pollution which is sent to the Breeze Cloud platform. Having reliable data on the numbers of common pollutants in the air then “Allows you to achieve an arbitrarily high data resolution and can assist facility management, environmental scientists and even municipality management and governments in understanding air quality, its influences and how to improve it.”

Ecopreneurs, who are interested in helping solve climate change and health issues, might be inspired by the community-based organisation Coalition for a Safe Environment (CFASE) in the United States. According to the Center for Climate Change & Health, “CFASE works to mitigate and eliminate public exposure and public health impacts caused by air, land and water pollution generated by the ports, international cargo [and] cruise ships, the petroleum industry, energy sources and the goods movement industry.” It is considered innovative, not only because it partners with “Universities that can provide research to build the evidence about the area’s toxic exposures and their impact on health” but also because it has established an online community complaint lodging and tracking system. Furthermore, it is a locally founded, bottom-up grassroots movement established in response to a locally identified climate change challenge.

The global winner will be sponsored and given the opportunity to participate in the upcoming COP23 climate change negotiations where they will be able to further showcase their entrepreneurial and innovative solution. Other winners will receive prizes such as access to free co-working spaces, membership to green business networks, mentoring sessions from environmental experts and increased media exposure and visibility. On why aspiring ecopreneurs and SMEs should be encouraged to register and participate in the #ECO4CLIM17 Climate Champion Awards Hinz says “Even if we cannot give huge grants or financial support, we are not only giving them the opportunity to get immediate feedback from an experienced jury as well as an informed audience but also connect them to important sustainability stakeholders to share their ideas and visions. We are looking forward to all the great ideas!”

Apply as Climate Champion until September 22nd here. Registration as participant for the #ECO4CLIM17 Climate Champion Award event is now open and is free but must be done online prior to the event. Looking forward to see you!

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This article was written by Ken Fullerton.

About the author:
Ken Fullerton is an independent sustainable development consultant. He has worked on development related projects in Germany, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda and is passionate about increasing access to renewable energy across Africa. Between May 2011 and September 2015 Kenneth worked for Positive Planet, a French based international non-profit organisation, whose mission it “is to help men and women across the world create the conditions for a better life for future generations.” He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Otago, New Zealand, a Master of Arts degree in Development Studies from the University of New South Wales, Australia and a Master of Public Management (MPM) degree from the University of Potsdam, Germany. He is a dual Australian and South African citizen.

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