Today, in honor of United Nations World Water Day, and in conjunction with The White House Water Summit, the MIT Climate CoLab launched a new Energy-Water Nexus contest, soliciting high-impact proposals that address the interrelated challenges of climate change, water, and energy. The contest is featured in the White House’s “Commitments to Action on Building a Sustainable Water Future” report, released today, along with a presidential memorandum and the Office of the Press Secretary’s fact sheet on advancing drought resilience.
From extreme drought in California to increased energy costs for water distribution and treatment, the link between the water and energy sectors — the water-energy nexus — is deepening. Fortunately, a wave of innovations from green infrastructure, to water-energy conservation strategies, to water recycling and reuse, are emerging on local, regional, and international scales. MIT Sloan School of Management professor and Climate CoLab founder Thomas Malone says, “We hope this contest will help harness the collective intelligence of people all over the world to develop innovative approaches for a more sustainable water and energy future.”
The Climate CoLab, an online crowdsourcing platform of over 50,000 members worldwide, seeks proposals on how organizations, governments, businesses and others can tackle major climate change challenges. Thirteen other contests are currently open on the platform, including decarbonizing energy supplies, smart cities, adapting to climate change, transportation, land use, buildings, industry, waste management, materials, aviation, implementing MIT’s Plan for Action on Climate Change, shifting public attitudes and behavior, and clean cookstoves.
Entries, due by May 23, can win prizes — including a $10,000 grand prize and a chance to present at MIT — and also feed into larger national and global climate action plans, which the community will build on the platform later this year. In addition to submitting ideas, the Climate CoLab welcomes people from around the world to offer feedback and support proposals they find the most promising.
The MIT Climate CoLab, an initiative of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, is an online crowdsourcing platform harnessing the power of collective intelligence to tackle one of the globe’s largest problems: climate change. “The mission of the Climate CoLab is to test how crowds and experts can work together to solve large, complex problems, like climate change,” Malone says.
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