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48 Hacks Each Built in 48 Hours to Fight Global Climate Change - all going before #hack4good Global Judges this Wednesday

Now that the planet’s largest hackathon on climate change is finished, 48 projects judged as most likely to have the greatest impact (selected by local and virtual judging panels) will tomorrow present to the Global Challenges Finals Judges.

This will be a showcase of some of the most innovative technology-driven projects addressing global climate and environment challenges facing the world - each built in under 48 hours!

Tune in Live on the Geeklist #hack4good YouTube channel

In cities worldwide and online, Geeklist #hack4good 0.6 was a breathtaking 48-hour global gathering of vision, passion, creativity and collaboration - all in the name of taking on the challenges of climate change.

It brought together over 1,000 inspired software engineers, designers, entrepreneurs and innovators with the leading technologists, subject matter experts, environmental organizations, NGOs, and governments.

On Wednesday 17th September, the #hack4good judges will vote for the best projects for each of the Global Challenge Themes.

Here are the Global Challenge Finalists we’ll be seeing tomorrow:

Session 1: Reforestation

7am Wednesday London time / 11pm Tuesday San Francisco time
11.30 IST / 09.00 EEST / 08.00 CEST / 07.00 BST / 02.00 EDT / 23.00 PDT (-1 day)

Challenge: How can we reduce deforestation and stimulate massive reforestation?

3 Global Challenge Finalists:

Session 2: Energy and Sustainable Business

8am London time / midnight Tue night San Francisco time
12.30 IST / 10.00 EEST / 09.00 CEST / 08.00 BST / 03.00 EDT / 00.00 PDT

Energy Challenge: How might we stimulate and support a rapid transition to a low-carbon energy production and distribution system, whether at the international, national or community level?

Sustainable Business Challenge: How might we encourage a step change in how businesses use resources throughout their supply chain and accelerate the transition to a circular economy?

4 Global Challenge Finalists:

Session 3: Public Awareness

10am London time / 2am San Francisco time
14.30 IST / 12.00 EEST / 11.00 CEST / 10.00 BST / 05.00 EDT / 02.00 PDT

Challenge: How might we increase overall understanding of the science and facts of climate change, to gain a critical mass of public awareness and support for strong action on climate change?

5 Global Challenge Finalists:

Session 4: Personal Impact and Compelling Visualisation

11am London time / 3am San Francisco time
15.30 IST / 13.00 EEST / 12.00 CEST / 11.00 BST / 06.00 EDT / 03.00 PDT

Personal Impact Challenge: How might we help individuals and families understand their personal impact and carbon footprint, shift to climate-friendly behaviours and reduce carbon-intensive consumption?

Compelling Visualisation Challenge: Create compelling visualisations of climate models and climate impacts

7 Global Challenge Finalists:

Session 5: Ecosystems and Nature

2pm London time / 6am San Francisco time
18.30 IST / 16.00 EEST / 15.00 CEST / 14.00 BST / 09.00 EDT / 06.00 PDT

Challenge: How might we ensure the protection and restoration of natural, resilient ecosystems and conserve biodiversity in the face of climate change?

4 Global Challenge Finalists:

Session 6: Consumer Behaviour - Food and Shopping

3pm London time / 7am San Francisco time
19.30 IST / 17.00 EEST / 16.00 CEST / 15.00 BST / 10.00 EDT / 07.00 PDT

Consumer Behaviour Challenge: How can we influence and encourage climate-friendly consumption choices at all levels of society?

A total of 13 teams entered the “Consumer Behaviour” challenge so this has been split into two sub-themes.

8 Global Challenge Finalists:

Session 7: Resilient Communities and Impacts of Extreme Weather

4pm London time / 8am San Francisco time
20.30 IST / 18.00 EEST / 17.00 CEST / 16.00 BST / 11.00 EDT / 08.00 PDT

This category combines three of the challenge themes:

Resilient Communities Challenge: How can we empower communities to be strong, prepared and resilient to natural disasters?

Extreme Water Impacts Challenge: How might we improve our response and preparedness for flooding, tropical storms and sudden onset extreme weather events?

Intense Heat Impacts Challenge: How might we help communities, farmers, governments, public health organisations and NGOs respond to the agricultural and human impacts of heatwaves, drought and wildfires?

8 Global Challenge Finalists:

Session 8: Digital Activism, Collaboration and International Negotiations

5pm London time / 9am San Francisco time
21.30 IST / 19.00 EEST / 18.00 CEST / 17.00 BST / 12.00 EDT / 09.00 PDT

In this combined session, 1 winner will be selected from each of three different challenge themes:

Digital Activism Challenge: What digital tools might we give to savvy activists and campaigners that will unlock the potential to create powerful movements for climate action?

Collaboration Challenge: How might we facilitate more effective collaboration and communication between NGOs, public sector, private sector and communities in sudden onset disasters?

International Negotiations Challenge: What tools might we build to better facilitate effective international negotiations towards creating strong international agreements and commitment?

Session 9: Consumer Behaviour - Games and Challenges

7pm London time / 11am San Francisco time
23.30 IST / 21.00 EEST / 20.00 CEST / 19.00 BST / 14.00 EDT / 11.00 PDT

Consumer Behaviour Challenge: How can we influence and encourage climate-friendly consumption choices at all levels of society?

This is the second of 2 “Consumer Behaviour” sessions.

6 Global Challenge Finalists:

After selecting the winning and runner-up project for each challenge theme, judges will also vote on an overall top 6 Global Grand Finalists to go forwards to the Grand Finals Judging session at 14.00 BST this Sunday 21st September.

Add calendar of all judging sessions to your calendar (ics calendar file)

Watch all the Global Finals Judging Sessions Live on the Geeklist #hack4good YouTube channel

World’s Leading NGOs share how we should Hack Climate Change

We’ve had an incredible week of webcasts with some of the world’s leading NGOs this week, sharing the difference that we can make - as hackers, developers, designers and tech innovators - at this weekend’s Geeklist Global #hack4good against climate change

Your Planet needs you! Will you accept the call?

Wherever in the world you are join us for the planet’s largest ever global hackathon against climate change!

WWF on Responsible Finance

Forum for the Future on Sustainable Business and Accelerating the Transition to a Circular Economy

Lead International on Resilient Communities

King Tides Project on Extreme Water Impacts

Fauna & Flora International on Ecosystems and Nature

WeForest + World Resources Institute + Chiang Mai University on Stimulating Massive Reforestation

Save the Children on Personal Impact and Empowerment

with special guest Nick Hall, Head of Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation at Save the Children

API Partners Providing Amazing Tools!

JustGiving - Fundraising Against Climate Change

CartoDB - Mapping and Visualisation Against Climate Change

This Weekend Hackers of the Planet Unite Against Climate Change!

Wherever in the world you are join us for the planet’s largest ever global hackathon against climate change! (online and multi-city - you can join and form a team virtually or in any of 30+ cities)

Changing How We Change the World: WWF partners with Geeklist #hack4good - live webcast on Monday

WWF, the world’s largest independent conservation organisation, have partnered with Geeklist for this weekend’s global hack against climate change - Geeklist #hack4good 0.6 - posing a series of digital challenges to shift money away from fossil fuels and stimulate rapid investment in renewable and green technology.

Sign up now for Geeklist #hack4good 0.6 (12-14 Sep in every city of the world) to work with organisations like WWF on solving climate issues and changing the world!

WWF

WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of our planet’s natural environment, and build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.

“Global warming will have catastrophic effects such as accelerating sea level rise, droughts, floods, storms and heat waves. These will impact some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, disrupting food production, and threatening vitally important species, habitats and ecosystems. Despite compelling scientific evidence, governments and businesses have responded very slowly.”

One fundamental aspect of this is changing how we invest money - as individuals, as businesses, as financial institutions and also as governments.

“The world is way behind the level of investments needed to bring a renewable economy into reality, but in the last year, various climate focused campaigns have started a call for more and faster investments in renewable energy and transition away from fossil fuels.”

In their global ‘Seize Your Power' campaign, WWF has signed-up an incredible 120,000 people to join their call for financial institutions and governments worldwide to act immediately to invest more in renewable energy powered by wind, water and the sun - and phase out investments in coal, oil and gas. WWF will bring that support with it to September's UN Climate Summit.

As a global challenge partner of Geeklist #hack4good 0.6, WWF is heading up the Responsible Finance challenge, focused on how we might encourage responsible finance: investment in renewable energy and divestment from fossil fuels.

Katia Maia, Global Campaign Manager, Seize Your Power, said:

“It is taking all minds and all sectors to solve climate change. At a time when we know money has to move quickly out of coal, oil and gas and into renewable energy, we need all hands on deck with creative solutions for everyone to make it happen. WWF is excited to be involved with #hack4good, an initiative with the potential to change how we change the world.”

Join WWF campaigner Zoe Caron for an exclusive global webcast and live Q&A session with WWF tomorrow, Monday 8th September at 16.00 British Summer Time. (that is 08.00 PDT / 11.00 EDT / 15.00 GMT / 16.00 BST / 17.00 CEST / 18.00 EEST / 20.30 IST)


This is the first of a series of global webcasts we’re doing this week with our Global Challenge Partners. Later this week, we’ve got:

View the calendar of all the webcasts

Download .ics calendar file (to import into your Outlook or Google Calendar)

Join us to address all these challenges and more and change how we change the world!

Sign up for Geeklist #hack4good 0.6

CartoDB, the all-in-one cloud based solution for all your mapping needs

We’re really excited that CartoDB is partnering with Geeklist #hack4good 0.6 and this coming weekend will be supporting teams worldwide to build incredible mapping, geospatial information and visualisation projects to address climate change challenges! Check it out and have a go before the hackathon kicks off!

This is a guest blog by Andrew Hill, Senior Scientist at CartoDB.

CartoDB is a cloud-based platform to visualize, analyze, and develop your geospatial applications.

From the CartoDB Editor (a browser-based editor to create your data-based maps) to the CartoDB Platform (a set of APIs to manipulate your data and integrate your maps anywhere) with CartoDB you get the most efficient way to map your data for the web and mobile.

CartoDB: Create amazing maps with your data

CartoDB came to life after the development of several biodiversity and conservation data visualization projects. We couldn’t find any tools that were able to map complex data (think millions of points) in real time in a visually attractive way, so we used different open source projects and began building our own solution.

We were pleased with the results and thought that maybe others would also be interested in the technology. Cartodb.com launched more than two years ago, and since then more than 500 customers and thousands of users have signed up in more than 50 countries.

CartoDB gallery

One of the secrets of CartoDB is the power of the PostGIS database backend. This means you have a complete SQL datastore: you can work with your data in the way you already know how to. On top of this you have the ability to use geospatial extensions, which will let you do some crazy geospatial queries and work with your geospatial data just by doing SQL queries.

CartoDB is the perfect tool to create rapid prototypes: our APIs are simple and well documented, so you can start playing, testing, and building your apps immediately. It’s the perfect companion to any hackathon ;)

Want to get inspired? The maps we have been seeing come out of the CartoDB community have been amazing: projects like Urban Reviewer, the insanely popular Twitter maps, and the NGO Aid Maps coming online pretty much every day. We love this and couldn’t be more grateful for such an awesome and inspiring community of users.

Twitter maps

To get started: create a free CartoDB account, read our docs, check out our CartoDB Academy, and learn how other people are using CartoDB, and follow us on Twitter to keep up with all we’re doing.

We look forward to checking out your CartoDB-powered #hack4good projects!

Building a Global Climate Movement: 350.org unites with Geeklist #hack4good to build digital tools for activists and hack a better climate!

Global scale mobilisation, action and solutions are fundamental to humanity stepping up to the challenge of addressing climate change.

One of the reasons why climate change is such a challenging issue to tackle is the so-called “tragedy of the commons”.

Briefly - our atmosphere, our oceans and the planet’s natural resources are all shared resources. What one individual, organisation or country does, affects that resource for everybody else. Carbon that goes up gets distributed all around the planet. Ice that melts all goes into the same bathtub. Excess heat in the ocean is transferred throughout that entire system.

If every individual acts in his or her self-interest (e.g. the improvement of his or her economic condition, power and/or status), those resources are degraded, simply as a result of the collective and emergent behaviour of the system.

One way to address the issue is through global movements to shift our collective mindset, to encourage greater empathy for our fellow (and future) humans - and actually get us thinking (and acting!) in our long-term collective interest.

Another is to put in place strong global regulatory systems - international law and agreements to hold institutions, entities and individuals accountable - basically to “game” the system in favour of the positive collective outcome: sustainable management of these shared resources.

For the upcoming #hack4good against climate change, we really wanted to bring on a partner who was working at a global scale on both of these fronts in parallel.

350.org

With 350.org, we found exactly that!

I am thrilled to announce today that at #hack4good 0.6, 350.org are joining us to lead the “Digital activism” global challenge theme.

Check out what they do:

I am excited about this because…

  • They are global - their online campaigns, grassroots organising and mass public actions are coordinated by a global network active in an astonishing 188 countries.
  • They work in partnership - with a hundreds of partner organisations globally, including many who are also contributing towards #hack4good - the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Avaaz.org
  • They are solution-focused - their work leverages people power to dismantle the influence and infrastructure of the fossil fuel industry, and to develop people-centric solutions to the climate crisis.
  • And they are digital natives - perhaps the most effective global organisation at utilising digital tools to create huge global campaigns. 350 Campaigns (Beta) is their open platform enabling anyone to build and launch a climate campaign. 350.org will be participating with us in at least Berlin, Delhi, Istanbul, London, San Francisco / Bay Area and New York - as well as virtually supporting any team working on innovative digital activism and campaigning tools.

Their challenge to all of us is:

"What digital tools can we give to savvy activists and campaigners that will unlock the potential to create powerful movements for climate action?”

And one of those movements is coming a week after #hack4good:

The Largest Climate March in History

350.org is one of the organisations helping to coordinate the People’s Climate March, taking place September 21st in NYC with solidarity events happening around the world that weekend.

We are preceding that with The Largest Climate Hackathon in History.

So what we build could actually be used by campaigners a week after the hackathon!

It is time for action. Let’s innovate our way through the “tragedy of the commons”, unite humanity and hack a better climate!

Join us in one of 45 cities or online: http://geekli.st/hackathon/hack4good-06

This blog post was by Dan Cunningham, Head of Geeklist Corps of Developers

JustGiving unites with Geeklist to hack climate change emergency response apps

In less than two months #hack4good 0.6 - the world’s largest hack against climate change - kicks off in more than 42 cities globally. We’re very pleased to announce today that JustGiving are joining us as a global sponsor and partner of this international ‪#‎hack4good event.

JustGiving is the world’s social platform for giving used by causes and fundraisers worldwide. They are pioneering innovative approaches to online and app-based fundraising.

At #hack4good 0.4, the emergency #hack4good for Typhoon Haiyan that we mobilised to assist with the emergency response in the Philippines in November, Tom Gallagher in London (now Geeklist ambassador for Barcelona) and Rohit Begani in Delhi, worked with JustGiving to build an emergency fundraising Facebook app to raise funds to help in the relief effort:

Built in 5 days using the Facebook and JustGiving APIs, the Care & Share Facebook App raised more than £30,000 for the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), a consortium of all the major UK disaster response charities, to help people affected by the typhoon.

In recognition of this incredible achievement, Tom and Rohit have been selected as finalists for “Giving app of the year” in this year’s JustGivingAwards.

JustGiving’s APIs enable developers to build innovative apps to raise funds for over 13,000 charities and causes worldwide.

Check out some of the apps for good that developers have already built:

Apps built with JustGiving APIs

Charles Wells, JustGiving CMO commented,

“JustGiving is extremely proud to be partnering with this year’s global climate change #hack4good event. We built JustGiving’s global platform so anyone could use our tech to reach people, raise money and inspire giving, and we’re looking forward to helping the Geeklist corps tackle some of humanity’s greatest challenges.”

JustGiving will be taking part in #hack4good with Developer Evangelists on-hand to support teams in London, Dublin and Melbourne and also supporting developers in any country to use their API.

Read more on the JustGiving Developer Portal and follow @jghackers

We’re thrilled to have JustGiving’s support in building projects and launching apps that tackle some of humanity’s greatest challenges. If you’re interested in partnering with us or sponsoring #hack4good at a global or local level, there is still time - contact hack4good@geekli.st to find out more about the impact we can create together.

This blog post was by Dan Cunningham, Head of Geeklist Corps of Developers

Understand the World’s Biggest Problems and Hack them

This is a blog post by Dan Cunningham, head of the Geeklist Corps of Developers:

Over the last year we’ve learned a lot about running hackathons for social good.

When you’re setting out to make a big real world impact, one of the most important things I’ve learned is that you need to work with and get input from those who understand the problem deeply - those who struggle day in and day out - often against the odds - to make a difference on key issues they are passionate about. People who are striving to make lives that bit better, safer, easier and richer for their fellow humans.

A couple weeks ago we brought together some world-leading organisations at the forefront of the fight against climate change for a workshop in London. These were people who are seeing in their everyday work the increasingly disturbing effects that we are having on our planet and the knock-on impact on our own livelihoods, security and wellbeing, and taking action to address these issues.

The purpose of the workshop was to define challenges and tangible problem statements for teams of expert developers and engineers to hack innovative solutions to at this September’s global #hack4good against climate change.

Joining the session we had the British Red Cross, the Campaign Against Climate Change, Cleanweb, the Environmental Investment Organisation, Fauna & Flora International, Friends of the Earth, Forum for the Future, Hack Humanity, Global Power Shift UK, Save the Children, WeForest, and a sustainability consultant at Tesco. An awesomely diverse group of participants!

Workshop participants

I teamed up with the very talented Amy Wilson and Mike Dunn of Sift Digital, an agency specialising in exactly this kind of collaboration and bringing innovative creative and technology solutions to non-profits. Sonny Masero from Cleanweb and James Lethem helped facilitate.

We designed a workshop that would guide participants into thinking deeply about the biggest climate change challenges, the people affected, and the underlying reasons behind these problems.

Skills Matter - an open source software development training community and events space in London - provided the ideal location for this intensely collaborative session. (if you’re in London, check out some of their awesome speakers, courses and sessions coming up)

We started out broad: define as many challenges and problems as possible on lovely yellow index cards!

Card sorting climate change challenges

Then we grouped them up (which was much easier than I anticipated with so many cards!)

Climate change challenges sorted into groups

The themes that emerged were:

  • Activism / Personal Impact
  • Messaging and Communication / Visualising Impact
  • Finances / Responsible Investment
  • Supply Chains
  • Renewables
  • Community Action
  • Biodiversity

Each group took a theme and now it was time to think about the people involved…

Persona development - persona photosCreating a personaCompleted personaCompleted persona

From all of this each group now had a vivid picture of the lives, motivations, environmental impacts, hopes, dreams, fears and pain points of people affected by or who could influence climate change in multiple global contexts.

What emerged next were a series of rich problem statements, infused with a dose of reality that I can just see will give developers, designers and engineers this September a clear picture of some of the things that need to be solved.

Here’s the headline statements we came up with:

  1. How can teachers and parents help children feel empowered to make a difference and positive impact?
  2. How can home owners living in high flood risk areas reduce their risk and live safely and securely?
  3. How can grassroots community leaders break down barriers preventing local groups and communities from generating renewable energy?
  4. How can investment professionals manage climate change risk and redirect capital away from carbon intensive companies to low carbon technologies?
  5. How can climate change campaigners work together and join up their work to be more effective in their campaigns?
  6. How can office workers reduce the energy waste in their office to reduce carbon emissions?
  7. How can smallholder farmers cope with reducing crop yields due to climate change without just using more fertiliser?
  8. How can teachers in the UK provide fun and informative lessons about climate change impact that children can relate to?

Reading these, I for one am brimming with ideas!

What are some of the ideas these inspire in you?

If you consider solving these kinds of problems an awesome challenge you’d like to take on, please join over 3,000 of us gathering all around the world this September at the world’s largest global #hack4good against climate change!

[Geeklist service update] Email fail on worker reboot.

Dear Geeklist Users,

We are sorry to say that late Sunday night it was found that one of our workers had crashed. Our developers rebooted to get it running again without realizing it had built up a queue and shipped that email queue upon reboot. Some of you may have received multiple copies of an email meant to be sent on a daily or weekly basis. We apologize.

The issue has been remedied and you should not expect this inconvenience again. No data or accounts were compromised, it was an internal issue.

Thank you for your understanding!

The Geeklist Development Team

Are You Ready to Hack?

A special guest blog post by Volkan Özçelik

I’m tired of the mainstream media, movies, and everyone else depicting the term “hacker” as a jackass script kiddie, hijacking into highly-secured mainframes, screwing up secret files, and financial records.

This biased representation in the media leads many people think of the word “hacker” in a pejorative sense: a fringe-type individual with highly specialized programming skills, who does what she does out of greed, malice, and ill intentions.

And to so many people around the world, the concept of “hacking for good” may seem like an oxymoron: The dark image of a hacker shadows the fact that people can work together, in a collective effort, to make things better for themselves, and for others around them.

I can proudly confess that I’m a hacker, and I am proud to be a geek too; and my friends and colleagues consider I’m damn good at it. Yet I have not done anything illegal so far. I sure can exploit quite a few security holes to gather information. But why would I?

But… Isn’t “Hacking” An Illegal Crime?

Saying “hackers are evil, because they can screw your online identity” is as equally ridiculous as saying “car mechanics are crooks, because they can install a time bomb in your engine”.

Hacking, in an of itself, is not illegal. It is as legal as throwing a dart. It all boils down to your intent:

If you are throwing the dart at the bull’s eye of a dart board, then it’s fair game; but if you are poking the dart into the eye of someone, then I’m sorry my friend, you are going to jail.

As in everything, you are responsible, and you will be kept accountable for anything you do. Once this distinction is clear, then hacking is no more dangerous than wood painting.

As a matter of fact, a hacker is none but an insanely creative person; and as with anything out-of-the-ordinary, creativity can be used for good purposes, as well as for evil purposes.

Hacking Is Misunderstood

A hacker is a person who makes things work beyond perceived limits, or beyond their common use.

Hackers enjoy exploring the details of systems, and are curious about how they can stretch the system’s capabilities; as opposed to many who only prefer to learn the minimum necessary skill set to get the stuff done.

Hacking is all about learning, empowerment, and sharing knowledge. – Hacking is not a goal, it is a means to do good.

Hacking is an “attitude”. There’s a community, a shared culture, and an accumulated wisdom behind it.

And you don’t necessarily have to confine yourself to hacking software: The hacker nature is totally independent of the particular medium that the hacker works in.

No matter what you do, and no matter where you are; if you have the hacker spirit, you will reflect it in every action you take. And that’s something to be proud of.

We solve problems; we build things, and we believe in collaboration, meritocracy, and mutual help. That’s the gist of being a hacker.

If we do something really, really well, then it is discovering:

We are motivated, curious, and creative. – We get so deep into how things work, that we acquire the knowledge to control them and change them to something else.

From the eyes of a hacker, failure is not a mistake. It is something to be taken a lesson from. Every failure means, something new has got to be learned. Moreover, making the same mistake twice is not that bad; because out of scientific curiosity that same mistake might lead to different results to explore.

This exploratory mindset is what society needs to make progress. That’s why hacking should be taught at schools.

There Is a Way To Fix the Misunderstanding

After a hard day at work, I don’t want to see an arse-twerking, tongue-wagging dumbass on the TV, bitching about her recent (quote-unquote) “album”. Instead, I would love to see how HIV can been fully deleted from the human cells for the first time, or what the best way of learning a new language is, or now nano flakes provide a greater solar efficiency, and may solve the energy needs of the next generations.

This constant and ever-growing thirst for knowledge is a major personality trait disorder of a hacker:

Hackers have an irrecoverable malfunction in their brains called “curiosity”:

We want to learn anything, and everything; regardless of whether it will be useful at work, or in our daily life. It’s this “curiosity” that makes us look at things from diagonally different angles; and it’s this curiosity that makes a hacker figure out unconventional solutions to seemingly-hard problems in ways that no one else can imagine.

Not only do we want to acquire knowledge about everything but the kitchen sink, but also we want to share the knowledge, and help others who want to walk the walk.

And I bet you, if there was a way to inject this mentality to the rest of the world, then the world would become an exponentially better place.

Yet still people want to see us as skinny, black-coffee-chugging nerds who sit in their garages 24/7, with their $50,000 computer set-up, using nicknames like “M4fi4 B0y” as an alias to talk to other fellow hackers, while plotting on how to take down the government.

Hey, wake up Trinity… Wake… Up! –
That $#!% only happens in Hollywood movies!

Everything the majority of the world knows about hackers are completely and utterly wrong. And there’s a way to fix this through showing, to the rest of the world, that we, hackers, can hack the world, and make it a better place to live!

Read on, if you wonder how…

Hacking is Evolution

Our disobedience is to the status quo.

Whatever we hack, be it a programming language, a poem, a math formula, a new color and shape for our yard fence, a new melody for a song… we create a possibility of new stuff entering our world. Not always great stuff, not even stuff that works, or has a particular purpose; but new stuff.

It’s the information that matters. It’s in that information where new possibilities for a new world emerge.

Hacking, is the change in the inherited characteristics of a system, over successive iterations.

This rapid iterative change gives rise to diversity, and diversity helps us create better solutions.

Hacking is not a result; it is a movement towards a future higher state: It is a continuous improvement; it is a curious exploration that least to massive change.

By this token, hacking is evolution.

You Are Born To Be A Hacker

  • Haven’t you ever tried to do something over and over again, in different ways, to make it do what you wanted?
  • Haven’t you ever disassembled a toy, to see how it works, while you were a child?
  • Haven’t you ever ended your almost finished jar of Nutella with an ice cream? (if not, try it; seriously!)

That exactly is what hacking is. You hack stuff when you deeply examine how things work, in order to change it creatively into doing what you want.

Diving right into the problem, and following a feeling rather than a formal methodology; that’s the hacker way of doing things.

And it is not necessarily a bad thing. Many great inventions have spawned out of genius minds who have not followed the conventions of what had been believed to be true at their time.

Every society needs their mad scientists ;).

Hackers, are pioneers. They constantly discover new and unusual ways of doing things; they constantly learn, research, and explore. It’s about discovering, and finding extraordinary solutions, to seemingly-ordinary problems. It’s about doing things differently, in a hope to create better outcomes.

Every child is a natural hacker; therefore you are born to be a hacker.

It’s time, society, the system, whatever you name it… makes you grind this innate ability to a halt.

Pardon Me, So What Is a Hack Again?

A “hack” is trying to do something differently.

It’s possible that what you create can turn out to be a solution that’s better than similar ones that have ever been done before, or it can be some crazy shit that no one else but you will use ever.

The essence of hacking is not the final outcome. Per contra, the essence of hacking is the road you are willing to walk.

What Makes a Hacker?

If everybody is born to be a hacker, then so are you. And there are certain characteristics that make hackers stand out.

Wanna be a better hacker? Then just sharpen the following habits of yours:

  • Be self-directed: We value in inner motivation, and self-direction. They believe that people learn best when they are free to explore their passions.
  • Be accessible: We know that no matter how much karate you know, there’s someone better than you somewhere. We share knowledge, we share wisdom, we try to build thing on top of the shoulders of giants, and we openly share what we’ve learned on the way. Hackers are connected, thoughtful, and supportive.
  • Be curious: That’s the most important part of it. Just observe a three year old, interacting with the environment; how curious she is, how she questions even the most basic facts. A hacker is that three year old kiddo, grown up, without having lost her attention, intention, and curiosity.

Contrary to popular myth, you don’t have to be a nerd to be a hacker. It does help, however ;).

Have you read anything to coding, computers, or programming in the above list? – Read once more, if you are not sure.

It’s a preconceived notion that to be a hacker, you need to be good at math, or you need to be good at cracking some code. – To be a hacker, all you need to do is to be curious, and to be able to question everything.

You don’t need to be a programming prodigy to achieve that. You just need to be willing.

You Can Hack For Good

Hacking, in a sense, is the ability to connect the dots to create desirable outcomes. When this ability is used to promote ecology, sustainability, civic life… to improve the state of the world around us, then wonderful things happen.

There are enough of insurmountable issues that need to be tackled in the world today. Take for example the climate crisis, gender inequality, war and hunger, need for clean air, underrepresented groups, discrimination, increased crime rates, torture…

Hacking is evolution; it is the only way to create better alternatives to our current way of living.

Sometimes you want to flip things around, and want to convince people of actually wanting to live in a better world, in a sustainable way. And that’s when the hackers come into play. It’s as simple as that.

Hacking is Not Only For the Elite

Hacking is not something exclusive to a limited sub-community of geeks. It is something that everyone does. It is something that everyone can do.

One of the core values of the hacker ethic is that hackers are not judged by bogus criteria like their degrees, their education, whether they have a CS major, or a Ph.D., or an MBA, or their race, or their position, or how long they have been into hacking. In contrast, the hacker culture is extremely open and meritocratic.

The best idea and the best implementation always wins – not the person who’s best at lobbying for an idea, or the person who has bigger role power.

Which makes us do more, talk less, and get the $#!% done. That’s the “hands on imperative”.

You can learn a lot from the world, or from a system, by taking it apart into pieces, seeing how stuff works. This micro-level knowledge that you acquire helps you create new and more interesting things.

Seeing the internals of the system will help you understand how the system is broken, and what can be done to fix it.

And the system to fix need not be a computer program:

  • It can be the day-long waiting lines in government agencies;
  • It can we the ridiculous thing called “war”;
  • It can be a preventing a disease from killing millions;
  • It can be child abuse;
  • Or it can gender inequality…

The matter of fact is, something can always be better.

Nothing is ever complete. You just have to go fix it.

This Is Not a Cake Walk

I will be up front, though. This is not an easy task, because human beings have an astonishing capacity to disregard all kinds of noise. And, again, human beings, have a monumental resistance to change.

So it’s not just a matter of coming up with an ingenious solution, supported by a strong argument; to make people care, you have to make your solution so desirable that people cannot resist it.

You have to translate an idea into something tangible that can blend into the everyday lives of people. And this leap can only be done with a hacker mindset.

You do have this mindset; it’s just “maybe” you haven’t taken the red pill “yet”.

Get Your Hands Dirty

If the system is not working for you, go out there and make it better! JFDI.

In the end of the day, this is not about thinking who we are, or what hacking is.

This is about getting your hands dirty and getting $#!% done; because, once your hands are dirty, miracles can happen.

So if you are unhappy with the status quo, instead of mourning about it, go and make a change.

Hacking is good, and you are born to be a hacker.

So there’s only one question that remains…

Are you ready to hack?

p.s.:
I will be at #hack4good 0.6 to make a change.
Hope to see you there too.

Fauna & Flora International join upcoming Geeklist #hack4good

 
Mobilising globally, teams are preparing for the world’s biggest ever hack against climate change, being staged across 40+ global locations this 12-14 September.

Today I’m very excited to announce our first Global Challenge partner for the Geeklist #hack4good against climate change!
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Fauna & Flora International (FFI) will be leading the “Ecosystems and Nature” global challenge theme.

FFI’s work spans across the globe, with over 140 projects in over 40 countries, mostly in the developing world. Their work is broad, visionary and holistic, with biodiversity conservation at the core and a strong understanding of how the human and economic factors must always be considered, including the fundamental role ecosystems play in providing resilience to natural disasters and climate change.

Founded in 1903, they played a key role in establishing much of today’s global conservation infrastructure – including being a founding member of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and were instrumental in establishing some of the first protected areas such as Kruger and Serengeti National Parks. FFI has always been a groundbreaker; they are renowned for innovative, landmark programmes, many of which have come to be regarded as benchmark examples of conservation practice.

Our champion there is Gavin Shelton, the Head of ‘Conservation Labs’ – a new initiative to foster innovation and encourage the development of technology-based solutions to conservation challenges globally. He’s a big champion for open data and collaborative approaches, I’m incredibly excited about not just what we’ll do at ‪#‎hack4good but the projects that we can take forwards together to have a lasting impact on the preservation of ecosystems and nature, for humans and for the variety of life on Earth.

Teams globally will be responding to challenges set by FFI and partner organisations on the theme of Ecosystems and Nature, which is one of 15 global challenge themes at this September’s global #hack4good.

The full list of global challenge themes are:

Climate awareness themes:
  • Public awareness - gain a critical mass of public awareness and support for addressing climate change
  • Personal impact - help people understand their personal impact and carbon footprint
  • Digital activism - develop tools for digitally-enabled activists and campaigners
  • Compelling visualisation - create compelling visualisations of climate models and climate impacts
  • International negotiations - facilitate effective international negotiations and strong international agreements
Climate adaptation themes:
  • Resilient communities - build tools to empower strong, prepared and resilient communities
  • Temperature rise - respond to heatwaves, drought and agricultural challenges
  • Extreme weather - respond to flooding, tropical storms, wildfires and extreme sudden weather events
  • Ecosystems and nature - protect and restore ecosystems, natural spaces and animal habitats
  • NGO collaboration - facilitate collaboration and communication between NGOs
Climate action themes:
  • Consumer behaviour - influence and encourage climate-friendly consumption choices
  • Energy production - develop global scale solutions for low-carbon energy production
  • Responsible finance - encourage responsible finance and divestment away from fossil fuels
  • Sustainability - increase energy efficiency, appropriate use of resources and sustainable business
  • Reforestation - end deforestation and stimulate reforestation
With #hack4good you’ll work with world leading NGOs, local and national government and organisations creating positive social impact to find innovative technical and creative solutions to humanity’s greatest challenges.

To join us in hacking against climate change this 12-14 September, sign up as a participant or local organiser or mentor at http://hack4good.io - We’ll be announcing the other 14 partners over the coming weeks! (some of who are confirmed and some of the themes are still open!)

If you’re a global organisation working in one of the above areas, and interested in engaging top software engineers, product designers and entrepreneurs around the world - or you’re interested in sponsoring or partnering with Geeklist, email us at hack4good@geekli.st to find out more.

I’m thrilled that organisations with such global credibility and weight as Fauna & Flora International are joining and look forward to seeing what we can build together! 


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