From sun solutions to climate cafés: Nationwide campaign taps into local talent

14 Apr 2015

 Famous TV presenter, Marko Novevski walks through the centre of Skopje using a fan to clean the air of dust.

While international conventions and national policies play a critical role in addressing the challenges of climate change, anyone involved in development issues knows how great contributions made by talented people ‘on the ground’ can be.

To tap into this pool of talent, UNDP launched a nationwide campaign on December 2014, inviting members of the public to submit their own innovative proposals for tackling climate change.

Over 130 ideas have now been received and ten of the best were shortlisted for further development.

The teams behind these ideas will receive expert technical advice and assistance in realizing their proposals as part of a Climate Change Innovation Camp in Skopje on 17-19 April. It is here they will get the chance to compete for a US $10,000 prize to develop their idea into a prototype.

Let's meet the finalists!

Thinking on their feet - Aleksandar Lazovski’s team will be working on ways to use shoes and bikes as means of generating electricity to charge phones, laptops and other mobile devices. They hope these products will start a new wave of ideas for using everyday objects to generate energy.

Working with wheels - Bobi Zrncev’s team are going to be designing a new, greener way for people to travel and commute—converting a conventional car into an environmentally-friendly ‘Eco Taxi’ with low fuel consumption and without exhaust fumes, greenhouse gases or noise pollution.

Looking to the sun for solutions - Zoran Trajkov’s team will be creating a new type of air solar collector that is cheaper and lighter than currently available models. Installed on south-facing facades, they will act as solar collectors during the day and billboards at night.

Trajce Donev’s team will be developing a solar cooling device that uses resources available to any household, office or facility to make better cold air distribution. The team says their device is fully compatible in terms of the demand and availability of energy because the periods when cooling is most needed are also the periods when solar energy is strongest.

They say our best thoughts come to us in the shower, and Arxhina Nagavci’s idea, a user-friendly and affordable container for recycling the water we use in bathrooms, could prove the most practical ‘showerthought’ yet. Designed to look good and fit in easily with bathrooms in houses, offices, and hotels, the container will collect and filter the water we use for personal hygiene so that it can be re-used for flushing toilets.

Inspired by a ‘lightbulb moment’, Nikola Koteli‘s team will be prototyping an easily-installable intelligent system for mobile phones called e-switch. Making use of user-positioning through wireless signals, the system will remind people when they have forgotten to switch off the lights in rooms they have left. It will also alert users to the best decisions they should make about heating and cooling devices based on short-term weather forecasting.

Ilija Sazdovski’s group will be developing a smart app for carpooling. Based on free maps of the city and other apps such as Viber, Skype or WhatsApp, the new app will enable users to find the routes of people offering transport that suit their needs.

Harnessing the fossil-free energy of laughter, Milan Dimitrioski’s team will be working on creating viral videos and humorous sketches to promote alternative means of transport such as bikes to help significantly reduce pollution.

Using the power of anecdotes, Bojan Rantasha’s team will be working on creating the country’s first climate café—a place where locals can get together and learn from each other’s experiences of energy-saving and other measures they have personally taken to help mitigate climate change.  

Our towns and cities may soon look a whole lot nicer—and a whole lot greener—if Suzana Atanasovska and Simon Trajkovski’s idea comes to fruition. This idea will help people to transform the roofs and empty facades of their buildings into green areas—with leaves and moss—that will not only reduce energy costs for heating by serving as a natural insulator but greatly improve the health of our shared environment.

To stay tuned into the campaign and watch for the winning idea, follow #OdTebeZavisi.

The campaign and Climate Change Camp have been organized in close cooperation with inspiring partners from the Swedish Embassy in Skopje, USAID, MilieuKontakt, the Social Innovation Hub and the Ministry of Environment.

The publicity for the campaign has also received the generous help of numerous national celebrities. Catch the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnvL4Oq1H88.

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