Manila to host 1st environment-themed hackathon

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Friday, June 6, 2014


MANILA -- Hundreds of developers and environmental activists will come together on June 6-8 to build mobile and web applications dedicated to climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience at “Hack-The-Climate: Manila.”

This eco-themed hackathon will be held at De La Salle College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB), in partnership with Princeton University's Pace Center for Civic Engagement.

Two Princeton University juniors, Jacob Scheer and Miguel Lachanski, reached out to DLS-CSB to host Hack-The-Climate after winning a US $10,000 grant from Davis Projects for Peace, a prize awarded to college students with project ideas that contribute to world peace.

Working with a team of Filipino tech specialists headed by Diego Jose Ramos, they expect a crowd of 200-300 to participate in this record-breaking, 56-hour hackathon.

The inspiration for this event came after Typhoon Yolanda, when they watched a video of Yeb Saño, the Philippines Climate Change commissioner, who urged the world governments to take collective action by asking "If not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?"

Jacob is a mechanical engineer studying sustainable energy, and Miguel is an economist studying the impacts of environmental destruction on the economy.

They are self-styled "eco-hacktivists," where the word “hack” is used in the sense of playful, exploratory or collaborative programming, not its alternate meaning as a reference to computer crime.

Miguel said they chose to hold the event in Manila because “the Philippines is a nation strongly affected by climate change, but at the same time it has a vibrant, highly active tech community willing to help.”

Governments have not yet come to a lasting climate agreement, so they decided that they would do something to help right here and now.

Jacob and Miguel have partnered with corporations like Microsoft and Smart to provide technical support. They've also reached out to environmental NGOs based in the Philippines such as Climate Reality Project, Conservation International and Greenpeace to discuss how developers can build apps to assist them in their climate change work.

By joining hackers with eco-NGOs, the organizers envision that the apps developed at the hackathon will be utilized long after the hackathon concludes.

They emphasized that this event is open to all: newbies just learning to code as well seasoned hackers. Climate change activists looking to make a meaningful impact, network, and listen to keynote speakers are also welcome.

The hackathon is designed to support the development of applications that include climate change mitigation, i.e. carbon footprint monitoring/management; adaptation (finding a hospital during extreme weather events); and resilience (strengthening of deforestation enforcement).

Each team will give a short demo of their application and the best apps will be determined by the environmental organizations based on their needs and judging criteria.

Special prizes will be awarded to the teams with the best applications, including cash prizes, MacBook Pros, iPods and Windows Phones, as well as hundreds of thousands of pesos in developer tools.

By developing tools to mitigate and alleviate global warming, “Hack-the-Climate: Manila” will unlock the potential of the Philippines to make good things happen quickly in the struggle against climate change.

Event Time: June 6 – 8 a.m. through June 8 – 9 p.m.
Location Address: 2544 Taft Ave Manila 1004, Philippines
Website: www.hacktheclimate.com (PR)

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