400 miles of ocean. We boast about it. We vacation with it. We share it with the world travelers. But it can be so much more than a tourist attraction. It makes us the Ocean State. It called a lot of us to the state and keeps us captivated by it. It is a vehicle for economic growth beyond tourism, In the coming months, the ocean pared with 11 great university/colleges, a culture of collaboration, scale and history of innovation will make little Rhody a big deal.
In March 2010, the GlobalPost’s article, “Top 5 Greenest Cities in the World” by Beth Hodgson mentions that the greenest cities are not necessarily the ones you think they are, but are those which are “on the right track to improving their footprints.” From Reykjavik, Iceland, a city run on green power, to simple techniques in Curitiba, Brazil where sheep are used to mow park lawns, global cities are finding their own pathway to sustainability.
In August 2010, this USA article sites the Natural Resources Defense Council’s online resource center’s “2010 Smarter Cities” in its article “USA’s greenest cities? You might be surprised.” The article states: “As the recession continues, cities nationwide are looking to save money by reducing energy use, says the reports, which incorporates data provided by cities, prior studies and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.” The Huffington Post weighs in also with its own nominees showcasing many examples of where city policies and programming influenced actions.
Rhode Island is on its way to being a player in this game where local to global experiments and experiences lead and change policies, programs, funding, technology and behaviors. The OSCAR Energy and Environment Collaboratory is making a statement with the launch of its pilot “Green the Knowledge District” initiative that will begin in 2011. But let’s not stop there, let’s move beyond our borders. We will improve not only our footprint, but our economic future, innovative culture and our quality of life.
The Collaboratory is a unique city/state approach to doing something for Rhode Island and sharing it with the world. Their goal is to leverage our assets–like the ocean, our research and scalability– and become one of the “Greenest States.” This group of people from a wide span of organizations has a wealth of green expertise and motivation, and members are already deeply involved with various statewide green meetings. They seek a way to coordinate all the activities, but–most importantly– they want to get started. They know it isn’t easy, and that we suffer meeting fatigue. However, they also know the time is ripe and Rhode Island has what it takes. Even if they have different agendas, they are highly motivated for the same outcome – to have tangible impact in
The Collaboratory is made up of a diverse crowd that include:
- Academia (Brown, Bryant, RISD, URI, JWU)
- Industry (Aspen Aerogels, Alteris, APC, Deepwater Wind, Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, IBM, ICF International, NUWC, Raytheon)
- Non-profits (Apeiron, Cleanwater Action, Draper Labs, OSHEAN, NESEA, People, Power and Light, RICIE, Save the Bay, US Green Building Council)
- Public Sector (Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Providence Department of Planning, RIEDC, STAC)
- Military (NWC, US Naval War College)
Read more about their effort on our media page.