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Social Innovation Labs for Climate Action: South to South Collaboration to Tackle Climate Change

CARRASCO, Gabriela
SOTO, Waldo

2811 Social Change Platform



Climate change is a phenomenon that can not be ignored. The temperature of the Earth’s surface has significantly increased during the last five decades, mainly due to the high greenhouse gases triggered by the free advance of industrial processes. At the same time, climate change has a severe impact on countries and cities with high economic and social vulnerability, Latin America and the Caribbean being regions particularly fragile to changes in temperature. At the same time, social inequalities and low capacity of adaptation make these regions, territories highly sensitive to climate change. Hence, the impacts to which we will be confronted will be a portrait of the growing socio-economic and socio-territorial inequalities of the different regions of the world. It is essential that the search for solutions to this global crisis is transversal to the fight against the social inequalities by which we are challenged. As a result, it is necessary that the work towards the mitigation and adaptation of the impacts of climate change is not reduced to decision-making processes carried out exclusively by hegemonic groups. Rather, solutions should be developed from local communities and in conjunction with the spaces of production of knowledge of the territories that are directly affected. Universities have a very important role to play as organizations that form advanced human capital that synthesizes territorial and global knowledge and in their role of transferring skills to communities. This paper elaborates on the case study of the installation of Social Innovation Climate Action Labs in the Global South and their implications on accelerating the adaptive capacity of local communities.

Social innovation, global south climate action, climate change, living labs.

About the Author(s)

Gabriela Carrasco, MPA New York University, Director at 2811, Consultant for Ashoka. Waldo Soto, MSc Technische Universität Berlin, Director at 2811, Consultant for Ashoka. Waldo and Gabriela met 10 years ago in the classrooms of the Business School of the Catholic University in Chile, the same business school that helped the installation of the neoliberal experiment of Milton Friedman in Chile, under the Pinochet dictatorship. After years of disappointment with the lectures and faculties’ approach to the social issues, they started a Social Innovation Lab, to bring social economy perspectives to one of the most traditional universities in Chile. Nowadays, both are fully dedicated to the fight of injustice in the global south, exchanging good practices among communities in Africa and Latin America. Together, they lead an international social change platform based in Colombia, Chile and Germany. Gabriela is based in NYC and Waldo in Berlin.

Waldo defines themself as a gay person, born in a small city in Chile in a working-class family. With 4 siblings, they learned how the joint work and collaboration are the only tools to improve the lives of people living under vulnerability contexts. Also, after studying ecology issues in Chile, they understood how extractivism has shaped the social and economic relationships in Latin America, which requires a new understanding of the relationship with nature to achieve a better quality of life.

Gabriela defines herself as a woman, born into a family of first generation university graduates of growing wealth. She studied both, business and political science at Universidad Católica in Chile, two schools that responded to different ideas of society and how to build it. For four years she has lived in NYC, having to identify there as a Latin woman to fit in the characterization given to people in the US and its educational system.

Co-presented by:

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