ASHEVILLE — As Asheville takes the lead in national climate science education efforts, the city’s business community is showing its commitment to environmental impact.
Entrepreneurs, companies, organizations, professionals and experts will join together in late-March for Climate City Expo, a 10-day celebration of Asheville’s leadership in climate change awareness and innovation.
The event, held March 29 to April 7, is organized by Asheville-based nonprofit innovation center The Collider. The organization has curated a series of conference tracks with a mix of programming, featuring a startup pitch competition, keynotes with climate science experts, a talk with Bill Nye, a local food expo, an art show and a hackathon.
Susan Osborne, The Collider’s communications and content lead, says that the Climate City Expo was started because The Collider saw an opportunity to launch a program focused on “innovative scalable adaption and resilience solutions” in the climate science field.
“[The event] also highlights and elevates the climate-forward work being done throughout the city of Asheville by nonprofits, artists, breweries, chefs and businesses,” Osborne adds.
Highlights of the 10-day event include:
CCx: Hack, March 31: This full-day challenge tasks coders, developers, designers and systems engineers to create climate data solutions using public datasets from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information, based in Asheville.
CCx: NextGen, April 1: An opportunity for undergraduate students to connect with climate science professionals and learn more about the field. They can also present their own solutions at a business case competition.
CCx Luminaries: A Conversation with Bill Nye, April 1: Presented in partnership with Asheville’s U.S. Cellular Center, this track of The Collider’s Climate City Expo is headlined by famous science communicator Bill Nye. He and WBEZ Chicago NERDette podcast host Greta Johnsen will discuss the climate science implications of extreme weather. This talk, held at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, is intended for middle schoolers and beyond.
CCx: Business, April 2-3: This two-day conference brings together professionals, climate scientists, entrepreneurs, investors and business executives for networking, presentations, panels and a pitch showcase featuring select startups. The Collider says startups from Asheville to Europe are applying to the pitch program. Startups that would like to pitch at the event are invited to apply by February 1.
The Climate City Expo will also feature mini-tracks focused on climate change-themed art, film and photography, food and drink from local restaurants, as well as a track that engages Asheville’s faith communities to discuss the intersection of spirituality and climate change.
“By designing a multi-track approach, we aim to produce and include programming that can resonate with global leaders, local families, aspiring students and prize-winning scientists,” Osborne said. “Whether someone is pitching a startup at CCx: Business, coding new software at CCx: Hack, listening to Bill Nye in our CCx: Luminaries series, or enjoying a beer from a brewery participating in CCx: Eats, we hope they will walk away with a greater motivation to adapt and become resilient to climate change.”
Tickets to Climate City Expo are available here.