Our Climathon 2019 event took place on two of the last few days of sunshine Basel will see this year, but it was staying inside that proved to be the most rewarding. Eight diverse teams worked through 24 hours to solve challenges in food waste, mobility, and energy. Little sleep was compensated with a lot of motivation and coffee, and the ideas generated rendered me speechless. What impressed me even more? The wide range of ages and backgrounds working together to achieve a common goal – increasing local climate action.
The increasing need for youth involvement in sustainability efforts is well documented. The FAO is talking about it for agricultural innovation, UNICEF is giving advice on improving youth engagement, and the European Committee of the Regions is reporting on the importance in youth entrepreneurship in the EU. Even partner Thought For Food is basing their business model on next-gen innovation. As a fellow young person, I thoroughly appreciate hearing that I’m useful for society, but what about the rest of the population? To enact real change, we need to involve every part of society – young people, sure, but also the “old.” Yes, the quotation marks are necessary, I still want my mother to speak with me after reading this.
Last weekend Impact Hub Basel organized our first (hopefully of many) Climathon, two days of excitement, inspiration, and innovation capped off with celebration (you can read Carrie’s follow-up blog here). Participants ranged from ages 11 to 60+, most with little to no background in programming. Nevertheless, effective and implementable solutions were produced in each of the three areas (energy, mobility, and food waste). In the post-Climathon celebration time, I spoke to as many participants as I could, trying to understand their motivation in voluntarily working through a weekend. Some were looped in by parents or friends, some came directly from our community, but most attended our event out of a pure hope to enact real local change towards a better climate future. If this united vision can power diverse participants through a sleepless night, it can do pretty much anything.
The entrepreneurs reading this have probably guessed my next question already – how do we scale this enthusiasm? The importance of multigenerational cooperation in sustainability should not be undermined. Involvement of people across all ages, on any level, is great, but are there additional ways IH Basel can keep up with this eagerness for social innovation? Partnerships are key. In June, we started a partnership with Seniors@Work, a job platform to make better use of the professional potential of seniors, and work together to bring added value to society. Hand-in-hand with the global media push for youth empowerment, and IHBasel’s reach among working age professionals, the potential for multigenerational engagement, at least in Basel, seems to be on the correct path.
Now it’s time to hear from you. What do you think we can do to increase engagement across people of all ages? Let us know next time you stop by our inspirational co-working space. Tours can be booked by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.