Impact Hub Waikato is hosting a free virtual event next week for anyone passionate about climate change to come together and develop local solutions to the global crisis.
From Monday, March 28 to April 3, people of all ages have the chance to participate in the Ideathon, a series of virtual workshops to develop concrete and actionable ideas tackling climate change.
The best ideas in five different categories have the chance to receive part of a $6000 prize pot.
The event is part of the global Climathon movement that engages people across 65 countries to create solutions to climate change. This year is Waikato's first time to participate in the Climathon.
Climathon Waikato Project Lead and Impact Hub Waikato's Director of Community Emma Sinclair says it was not only an event to brainstorm ideas, but to develop actionable ideas.
"We don't have to be experts to make an impact.
"Climate change might not be on top of everyone's mind at the moment, but it is happening. A lot of the time it can be seen as disempowering or daunting to do something about it, so we want to make it feel achievable. We can all do something about it."
Throughout a series of virtual workshops and under the guidance of 25 local industry experts like plant-based dairy company Raglan Food Co founder Tesh Randall and social enterprise Mainstream Green founder Nicola Turner, the participants develop and refine their ideas in teams.
While Sinclair already received registrations from people with an idea, like hyper local market garden Tomtit Farm, who wants to work on scaling their impact on a regional level, she says the Ideathon was designed for people who want to make a change but don't have an idea yet.
"We take them through the process. No preparation is needed, just bring your enthusiasm, energy and skills. Everyone is welcome, there are no barriers. We believe everyone can bring something to the table."
She says she wants participants to think big. "We hope to see some action, we want to see solutions starting in Waikato... I hope people will feel empowered."
The $6000 prize pot, provided by funders like Trust Waikato and Waikato Wellbeing Project, will be split between five prizes: Community Prize, People's Choice, Innovation Prize, Youth Prize and Overall Grant winner.
Originally, the global Climathon and Ideathon were happening last October, but the Waikato team decided to postpone it due to Covid.
Leading up to the event, the Impact Hub hosted a series of events in August last year, where Waikato rangatahi voices identified the region's five greatest climate challenges: transport, energy, food, empowerment and biodiversity.
Throughout the Ideathon each team will focus on addressing one of these challenges.
"The tradition is to call on a prominent politician or elder to identify the challenges, but for us it was a natural choice to turn to the younger generation. The rangatahi voices represent the future," Sinclair says.
Participants can register here anytime between now and March 28. People of all ages, backgrounds, and experience are welcome.