A call for citizens’ climate initiatives


Over 4,500 citizens engaged in last month’s Global Climathon Day to tackle the climate challenges that define their cities. In total, more than 100 Climathons across five continents generated thousands of innovative solutions to local climate problems. Though the annual event may be over, the drive for citizen engagement is just getting started.  

Cities around the globe are taking part in the Climathon journey to involve citizens in urban transformations. Oftentimes, the greatest change is sparked by a single idea that can evolve into tangible projects, impact-driven start-ups, or community initiates, crafted by the people, for the people.

If Climathon has not yet arrived in your city or if you were unable to participate this year, it’s not too late to join the global movement. EIT Climate-KIC is calling on committed citizens to share their climate-positive initiatives that are reshaping communities everywhere. Whether you are working on a city-based project or a solution for the post-COVID green recovery, this is your opportunity to bring your idea to the global stage.

A diverse range of citizen-led initiatives will be presented during the Climathon Awards on 21 January 2021. This global celebration, which marks the 5th anniversary of Climathon, offers a platform to showcase inspiring ideas, learning outcomes and long-lasting connections from the international Climathon community.

Public participation in climate change-related decision-making has been on the political agenda since the 1992 Rio Declaration and has continued to advance with the 2015 Paris Agreement and most recently, the 2020 European Climate Pact as part of the European Green Deal. Today, citizen activism is a means of empowering residents to fully engage in and jointly own their climate-resilient futures.

At the end of the day, it’s the communities - not the governments - that must carry out the groundwork for hitting emissions targets. Therefore, policy and decision-makers must set aspirations for climate action collectively if they want their climate-change agendas to be realised by citizens.

Two important aspects of climate justice involve recognition and redistribution, which can be achieved through the plurality of voices and the opportunity to participate equitably. These processes can contribute to a more inclusive, less divisive form of politics and build a public mandate for climate action when done correctly.

Climate change solutions must be designed and executed with citizens at the core, ensuring that the ecological transition is adaptive, democratic and fair, for the whole population but particularly for marginalised groups. Otherwise, we risk further polarising society if public climate mandates take place behind closed doors.

For the global Climathon celebration, citizens are encouraged to submit a pitch-style video (in English and less than 3 minutes in length) that clearly explains their individual or collective climate action. EIT Climate-KIC pledges to plant a tree for every submission received, meaning your local climate initiative can also contribute to restoring nature! Videos can be submitted to the Climathon social media channels via direct message or to climathon@climate-kic.org from now until 31 December.

Thanks to our global partners