By Caroline Kwasnicki

We are living in difficult times. The planet is continuously warning us about the impacts of our actions. Extreme droughts, floods, hurricanes and high temperatures are happening all over the world. Climate change doesn’t choose its targets, it hits everyone, everywhere. But there’s no doubt the size and strength of the damages are uneven: some communities are more sensitive to these catastrophes than others, and many times they are the ones that have done the least to cause the problem. We cannot just look for ourselves and believe that problems are far from us. We need to think together and unite our skills to find solutions that prioritize a more sustainable and just future for ourselves and for our – only – home.

An inspiring example that proves that it is possible to unite distinct areas of knowledge for a common cause is What Design Can Do (WDCD), an event that happened last week in São Paulo, Brazil.

WDCD was born in Holland in 2011 and has happened in Brazil since 2015. It’s goal is to promote design as a tool for transforming society, mobilizing the creative community to foster these social changes.

Climate change is no longer just an environmental issue. It is a global crisis, and it requires us all to think outside the box, outside the climatic bubble. That’s the challenge!

During two days, people from diverse areas of work came together to debate about the causes and consequences of climate change, and the power of design and architecture to promote solutions. Real projects have also been presented.

Naresh Ramchandani, co-founder of environmental NGO Do The Green Thing, Nicole Oliveira, environmental activist and director of Brazil and Latin America, and Elizabeth Mckeon, head of strategy at the IKEA Foundation, participated of the panel discussion entitled “Is media still our ally?”.

Nicole addressed examples of climate events and how our choices impact the world. She explained how her job at works and how climate activism is important in the fight against fossil fuels and against the Brazilian government backsliding, that insists on stimulating the most polluting industry in the world. “We do not need fossil fuels. We have enough clean energy”, she said.

Here you can watch the livestream we did on our Facebook page during the debate.

WDCD female representativeness

Gender inequality is the source of many forms of discrimination, abuse, violence and exploration, and it was also addressed during WDCD. For Nicole, a feminist activist herself, the presence of many women in the forum was a victory in the fight for equity. “It is gratifying to participate in an event that embraces the feminist cause. It was an honor to debate alongside other such competent and professional women in their respective fields”, she commented.

All around the world, women play a central role on fighting against climate change and for more sustainable economic systems. According to the UN, women’s participation at the political level, for example, has resulted in greater responsiveness to citizen’s needs and at the local level women’s leadership has improved outcomes of climate related projects and policies.

Climate Action Challenge

In addition to mitigating the effects and designing solutions that contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions, in order to combat global warming, we must also adapt to the reality of the inevitable impacts of climate change. And here design and architecture can play key roles.

With this proposal, the Climate Action Challenge 2017 – a global design competition – has invited the creative community, among students, professionals and startups, to propose projects and solutions that address the impacts of climate change. The challenge received 384 entries from 70 countries. See below some of the winning projects of this edition – to see the full list visit the WDCD website.

Dronecoria: Have you ever imagined thousands of people being able to plant thousands of trees? This is an automatic reforestation project, which uses drones to disperse seeds into expanded clay balls.

The Children’s Scrappy News Service: is an improvised news service, made by children for children, that seeks to solve the world’s problems by taking one step at a time.

And have you stopped to think about how your area of ​​action can contribute to building a sustainable and fair future for all? Join us on this journey. We can build a Fossil Free world and fight climate change together. We want – and need to – prevent the development of any new project involving coal, oil and gas, and accelerate the transition to 100% renewable, free, clean and fair energy for all. Join us!

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