By Gustavo Pinheiro

Since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015, society has engaged with increasingly more enthusiasm in the development and implementation of solutions to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The urgency of the transformation of the global economy requires that we radically alter the production and supply of energy, the industrial processes, the way we produce food, how we manage waste, and how we travel, as well as eliminating the destruction of natural forests especially in the tropics.

To account for the speed of transformation that is required, slow and incremental improvements are not sufficient. The impacts of global climate change are already being felt in many parts of the planet. Disruptive innovation is made viable with the fourth industrial revolution, and digital technology provides a new arsenal of tools that are available to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy.

This context of a sense of urgency and disruptive innovation has produced hackathons, which are marathons of programming where teams compete for the development of the best technology-based solutions for specific challenges. The same logic has been applied in recent years to the development of solutions to the challenges imposed by climate change.

Rio de Janeiro hosts the second edition of Hacking Rio , the largest hackathon of Latin America, on October18-20, with over 1,000 hackers working continuously for 42 hours competing for the award of the best solution to challenges in 15 tracks. One of the tracks is supported by the Institute for Climate and Society and will be based on challenges related to climate change.

The hackers have the opportunity to develop solutions for some of the largest challenges faced by Brazilian society to advance the transition to a low carbon economy.

The climate track of Hacking Rio will challenge the teams of hackers to apply technology to improve the monitoring of agricultural chains, to add value and develop the bio-economy, to accelerate the implementation of distributed solar energy, to encourage behavior towards more sustainable lifestyles, to accelerate the prevention and response time to fires, degradation, and illegal deforestation, and to increase access to electric energy in remote communities.

Gatherings such as Hacking Rio mobilize an enormous collective intelligence in favor of transformations based on technology for some of the largest challenges faced by mankind. It constitutes a new way of promoting social innovation and impact entrepreneurship, and it is a contemporary method of encouraging large scale social change with the use of new technology.

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