Climate Change & Sustainability


As resource constraints and climate change impacts in California and across the world become more severe, individuals and communities will lack access to the tools and products necessary to live sustainably. The buildup of C02 emissions has resulted in urgent challenges such as rising temperatures, extreme weather disasters, and accelerated sea level rise. At the same time, humans are generating 1.3 billion tons of solid waste per year, straining natural resources and highlighting the need for robust conservation and recycling efforts. Nevertheless, innovators around the world are increasingly exploring the potential of sustainable energy resources (such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower energy, and biofuels), implementing sophisticated waste management strategies, and incorporating circular economy principles into business strategies. As climate change and resource depletion continue to pose a significant risk to humanity at large, there is an urgent need to make these renewable technologies more accessible, affordable, and reliable.

The Challenge

The challenge for this track is to encourage the adoption of clean energy and/or resource alternatives that are sustainable and have the potential for broad impact. Proposals may focus on the design, development or delivery of green energy solutions that can be domestic or international in scope. All proposals should clearly demonstrate the relationship between the proposed intervention and its impact on the environment and/or the target impacted Californian community.

The CA Climate Action network is intended to spur innovative ideas to address California’s climate goals, ensure that local communities are prepared and resilient, and prevent future disasters. Undergraduate and graduate student teams working on climate change solutions for vulnerable California communities may be eligible to receive additional funding (up to $10K) Scroll down to learn more about past projects and examples that would qualify for this opportunity!  To learn more about UC California Climate Action Priorities, please visit:

Solutions may focus on several areas, including but not limited to: (1) clean, renewable energy technology; (2) land/watershed management; (3) climate change adaptation; (4) habitat restoration and/or maintenance; (5) Resource reduction/waste prevention (6) solutions addressing vulnerable communities in California affected by climate change; (7) programs or installations that spread awareness about climate change impacts in California

Past Winners and Examples

Examples of proposals that would fit into this track include:

  • An innovation that bolsters public health and safety to protect against increasing climate risks 
  • A project to accelerate governance, policies, or commerce to spur statewide clean energy alternatives.
  • A proposal that integrates carbon sequestration into the design process to create better, more environmentally beneficial, buildings.
  • Accelerate nature-based climate solutions and strengthen climate resilience of natural systems
  • A bioplastics business that recycles natural waste into new consumer products.
  • An irrigation technology that can help CA communities protect their agricultural systems from climate change induced weather patterns.

To learn more about UC California Climate Action Priorities, please visit:

RePurpose Energy, 2019
ZestBio, 2018
Green Campus, 2008
Trash to Tiles (now Takataka Plastics), 2018
Screen Shot 2023-08-01 at 15.26.32
Earth Voices, 2020
Limelight Steel, 2021