CEDC is working with EcoPlan International to identify the best model for a Green Learning Lab on Salt Spring that can help us demonstrate that investing in the green sector is good for the economy and our environment.
Why A Green Learning Lab?
We understands the need to invest in clean tech and green solutions that are part of a circular economy. This systems approach is important for an island community to find ways to sustain both the natural environment that we live in, our lifestyle and our ability to earn a living. It’s also something that the world is grappling with – we believe we can offer a rural location for testing various products or innovations that could lead to global solutions.
We don’t subscribe to a philosophy of endless economic growth. We believe there is a way to support economic activity that considers the impact on our environment. The CEDC is introducing a “lab” idea to address our own problems and potential to contribute to the larger global issues. While we don’t currently have a physical place to call our lab, we do see the value in a virtual lab to support the shift to an economy that values “green” solutions.
We believe that future services of the lab could be to act as an R&D centre, a maker lab, an education hub and more.
What Are "Green Services"?
There’s a lot of “green” solutions touted today. Our Green Learning Lab will focus on the creation of products or services that seek to:
- Reduce – products or services that would reduce consumption of natural resources (water, energy, etc)
- Reuse or Recycle – products or services that use waste for production (ugly vegetables become delicious soup) or innovate ways to use a by-product.
OUR ISLAND COMMUNITY IS CURRENTLY CHALLENGED BY:
- Water (quality and quantity)
- Food security
- Waste Management
A "Green Lab" Will...
1. Provide a place in our community to pilot and test solutions for providers, government and interested innovators. We’ll work to support user testing and document the outcomes in a way that will make implementation easier. Clients would manage their own technical information.
2. Investigate and identify the red tape in going green. For example – we believe that it is too expensive for many people to retrofit their homes to low-flush toilets. Our hypothesis is that we’d identify the right incentive and communication to change this in concentrated pockets (neighbourhood to neighbourhood) then more people would switch. It might help us identify barriers to going green and assist us with creating a set of plays that we put in our playbook.
3. Enable local providers to partner with us on the “barriers” and uncover other market opportunities. A “lab” will help them test their business hypothesis and then incubate their solutions. This is in essence our Rural Business Accelerator, or an “entrepreneur in residence” program.
What's needed: We need to capture metrics for the local market and document the local sector. By working to coordinate information and generate a community dashboard that shows how we are working towards zero-emission or other goals (aligned with CleanBC), we can also mentor those that are working in this sector.