“I’ve had so much fun it’s exhausting”, says Rob McMonagle with a laugh. McMonagle works as Senior Advisor on the Green Economy for the City of Toronto. For the last nine months, he has been hard at work facilitating the Canadian team’s participation in the Helsinki Energy Challenge.
“This has been a really fun project because people’s eyes light up when we start talking about this and what we’re trying to do. It’s also been a challenging process that has opened a lot of minds in Toronto on how to develop things through partnerships”, McMonagle continues.
Toronto is among the organisations and cities that have been collaborating with the Helsinki Energy Challenge to spread the word about the competition. They see the global potential this project has in producing the solutions we so desperately need to fight the climate crisis.
McMonagle says that the Helsinki Energy Challenge experience has been so impressive that the City of Toronto is already planning a challenge of their own. Toronto was supposed to be hosting the global circular economy forum this year, but due to the Covid-19 situation, the event had to be postponed.
“We started thinking if we could do a design challenge instead. There’s a strong circular economy network in the Nordics and we would love to bring Nordic companies to Toronto virtually to do a design sprint with our companies”, McMonagle envisions.
Helsinki wants to find long-term sustainable solutions to heat the city in the future and to act as a platform for new and innovative solutions that also other cities around the world can benefit from. For this purpose, it opened the international Helsinki Energy Challenge competition on 27 February 2020. The competition seeks solutions through which the city can be heated sustainably in the coming decades – without coal and with as little biomass as possible. The competition’s first prize is one million euros.
Photo: Destination Toronto