Sarah Wilkin and the FGA graduates join the The Climathon Geneva and work to design a greener future for travel

The Climathon is a worldwide call to action that allows citizens the opportunity to collaborate and find solutions to the most urgent climate issues. They must use their creativity to propose change and envision a greener, carbon zero future. 

Participants range from policy makers and business leaders to community activists and students from 145 cities across the world. In teams, they have 24 hours to tackle local climate challenges and come up with a meaningful story that outlines their vision for the future. The stories were then pitched to a jury of experts who decided a winner based on the most tangible and transformative idea and presentation.On the jury, from Geneva Airport, was Sabrina Cohen Dumani, Zaninka Mariane Ntagungira, Hamidul HUQ and Gaël Poget. And another jury made up of experts from Suisse Energie was Matthias Galus, Jakob Rager, Giorgio Pauletto and Pascal Mullener. 

FGA founder and CEO, Sarah Wilkin, was invited to speak at the Climathon Geneva about Fly Green Alliance’s work to bring sustainable aviation to the mainstream. Other expert speakers included Nicolas Nova, Claire Moretto, Jon Monnard and Gaël Pogat

Among these experts, and other innovators and creatives, Sarah assisted the teams in the development of their ideas. The online event was organised and overseen by Impact Hub Geneva and eqlosion. Nina Salamon from eqlosion describes some of the challenges of transitioning to entirely online: “It made us rethink and modify the way we present each phase of the work during the event”. She continues: “We also think it was interesting to think about making the event accessible to people who were not participating. We’re happy we did it online”. Nina and the organisers were on call throughout the process to empower the teams, as well as offering a yoga and bachata class to energise their spirits. 

Each team was given one of three briefs. The winning team, L’aRéogare were assigned with imagining the future of intercontinental human interactions by 2050. This challenge was proposed by Geneva Airport’s CEO, André Schneider and asks the teams to explore possible ways in which human interaction across continents may be implicated by the ecological transition. It is projected that the number of passengers travelling by air is likely to double by 2036 to 7.8 billion. If sustainable solutions and fuel are not applied, this will in turn increase carbon, already in excess globally. The Guardian wrote this month that 1% of frequent flyers create 50% of global emissions and the research group who carried out the work for the report estimated the cost of these emissions being valued at $100 billion. Based on these findings and other research carried out over the 24 hours period, the teams were asked to consider existing social and technological trends to offer tangible alternatives which kept in mind the quality of future social interactions and access to intercontinental travel. 

L’aRéogare approached these issues and presented their ideas by recording a podcast. They imagined that in 2030, Switzerland became the first to issue a ban on intercontinental flights and adopt a limited aviation carbon budget where people needed to save credits from their own personal carbon budgets to take a flight. The team created the podcast which was said to be broadcast in the year 2050, from Geneva Airport, interviewing travellers and users of the airport passing through. Through the interviews we learn that in the future people used low-fuel trains and have virtual business meetings as other alternatives to flying, when they have run out of credits or need to save them to take a longer flight. 

All of the teams now have the opportunity to submit their ideas to be considered for a Climathon Award. The Climathon Global Awards celebrates all those that participated across the Climathon process in all its 5 years, and offers a space for continued collaboration on a global stage. Prize money is offered to the most transformative solutions, to help in realising and taking their ideas through to fruition.

The Climathon is a truly inspiring event that generates real and spirited connection across borders in the name of climate action and innovation.

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