The climate emergency is an ocean emergency.

The ocean covers over 70% of the surface of our world and provides 95% of all the space available for living creatures. It is the conduit that joins countries together and provides us with food, energy and even the air we breathe.

In 2021, the ocean is more at risk than it has ever been. A climate crisis has been declared in the Pacific. Pollution from shipping, industry, agriculture and plastic waste are fundamentally changing ecosystems and overfishing is threatening the livelihoods and food security of whole populations who rely on the sea for food.

The Commonwealth Blue Charter has identified 10 ocean action areas covering challenges from pollution to fisheries, and sustainable blue economies to protection of nature. Each challenge area represents an urgent global need – and an opportunity for innovative and impactful solutions.

Hack the Planet is a virtual ideas competition, designed to create these solutions. It is a joint initiative of the Satellite Applications Catapult and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The competition will bring together teams of people to ‘hack’ solutions, to some of the world’s biggest ocean challenges, aligning with the Commonwealth Blue Charter action areas, including eliminating plastic pollution, accelerating sustainable energy uptake, developing sustainable ‘blue’ approaches for the ocean economy and protecting nature in marine areas.

After the applications have been submitted, the programme will follow this timeline:

(If we need to change the timeframes for any reason, changes will be published on the competition website)

22nd April 2021 – Competition opens for entries

11th June 2021 – Submission deadline

21st June 2021 – Announcement of shortlisted entries

Up to 30 individuals or teams will be shortlisted to participate in the knowledge exchange programme, which aims to educate and tutor entrants to turn their ideas into a honed idea pitch for our judges. Where appropriate, we will encourage teams to join their ideas with other groups to aid idea development and collaboration opportunities

1st July – 31st August 2021 – Delivery of Knowledge Exchange programme for shortlisted entrants

Over two months, Hack the Planet will deliver a wide range of virtual tutoring sessions covering topics from Geospatial Information and Ocean Science to creating powerful pitches

3rd September 2021 – Submission deadline for final pitches

With the Knowledge Exchange programme over, it’s time to submit your final pitch for judging by our panel of expert judges

22nd September – Finalists announced

We will select six finalists from the final pitches received to participate in our final pitch event

14th October – Final pitch event and winners announced

In this live event, the six finalists will pitch their ideas live to our panel of judges, and the winners will be selected