The problems facing our planet have never felt more urgent. We need all brains on deck if we’re going to rise to address our global challenges. Code for All and DemocracyLab convened a multi-location tech-for-good hackathon on Earth Day to celebrate our planet and build enthusiasm for grassroots change-making. There were virtual events centered in Japan and Taiwan, and a hybrid event in Seattle. Here’s a sample of what participants had to say:
Every person I talk to has a hidden passion living in the corner of their mind. DemocracyLab gave me the courage and motivation to live that dream while helping others do the greatest good possible.
- Jacob Caggiano, Climate Tech Handbook, Seattle
The most interesting thing I learned during the event was how valuable precise attention to a bespoke website configuration is necessary to achieve optimal outcomes. Our volunteers worked on visualizing and acquiring metadata for artifacts in a 1.9 million artifact collection we had. I really enjoyed all the fantastic, informed, effective volunteers who joined! DemocracyLab did an outstanding job of pulling together competent and engaged volunteers who were ready to deliver real value. Thank you!
- Jamie Joyce, Visualizing Climate Collections, San Francisco
I always enjoy introducing people from different walks of life to our app and hearing their feedback. Our hackathons always start with an invitation to get outside - and try surveying a tree with iSeaTree. Since this was an Earth Day event - this was a particularly meaningful experience for our volunteers. The most interesting thing I learned during the event was the new projects that are kicking off at DemocracyLab! As a parent - and supporter of youth interests - it was really encouraging to see so many new projects aimed at improving our children's futures! I was really impressed by the mission and dedication of 'No School Violence' and 'The Climate Tech Handbook'!
- Arielle Simmons-Steffen, iSeaTree, Illinois
I enjoyed participating in this hackathon: I learned new things, and I got to spend the day with an awesome, motivated team. The project I worked on already has environmental awareness and educational impact. My contribution will possibly have an impact on future decision-making, as we provided valuable feedback to the project lead. I most enjoyed listening to the multiple ideas/projects that were presented.
- Carla Benavides, iSeaTree volunteer, Seattle
On Earth Day I participated in DemocracyLab's Earth-A-Thon, an event focused on helping tech-for-good projects make progress toward their long-term goals. After 7+ hours of Earth Day 'hacking', my teammates and I made significant contributions to a mobile app called 'iSeaTree'. 'iSeaTree' is an app that was founded by the 'TreeMama.org' - a non-profit website dedicated to youth education, community science, and environmental conservation.
- Oyinade Ademodi, iSeaTree volunteer, New York City
I was a project leader for Orcasound, and we worked on a project that geotag-labeled whale ecotypes in the Salish Sea. Before, there wasn't a way to differentiate the points on the map as different ecotypes of whales, but the volunteer dev did an amazing job of indicating what ecotype of whale was geotagged by using different icons. It was a step in the right direction as we look to provide more detailed data visually in a map interface.
- Brendan Thatcher, Orcasound, Seattle
One of the highlights of the hackathon was being able to decide on our tech stack and internal structuring, which allowed us to work more efficiently as a team. I was also responsible for assigning tasks to the other developers, which was a great opportunity to practice my leadership and communication skills.
- Matthew Seidel, Tech2Live volunteer, Chicago
I was very excited to finally work with a team and see what I could do given a short period of time.This was my first time using NextJS and at first I felt intimidated but quickly realized that this is exactly what I need. An environment with supportive people that will push me and help me grow.
- Lucian Brooks, Tech2Live volunteer, Seattle
Without the Earthathon, I wouldn't have been able to get this project going! - Emily Lange, Quizzy News, Brooklyn, NY
It was an honor to be invited and to participate in this amazing event. We hope we can collaborate again in the near future!
- Saya Kubota, Code for Japan, Tokyo
This project aims to make environmental problems your own personal problems by making an app that calculates the carbon footprint produced by your own personal lifestyle.
- Kota Yatagai - Code for Japan
I worked on the project Know Your Parliament, a project from Fira Tiyasning Tri Utari, Program Director at Sikola Mombine Foundation. I think it'll be a great case of a civic tech project that helps citizens to care more about their MPs. I enjoyed all the brilliant ideas and all the exchanges, as well as networking with the other participants.
- Weichen, Open Culture Foundation, Taiwan