Letter to Minister Quinn: Third Level Campuses as Living Laboratories for the Green Economy and a Sustainable Ireland

Dear Minister Quinn,
The members of the Environmental Pillar are asking you to support a proposal under the Action Plan for Jobs 2014 for Third Level Campuses as Living Laboratories for the Green Economy and a Sustainable Ireland, as outlined on pages 73-76 of our Greening-the-Economy-and-Creating-Sustainable-Employment report.
The Environmental Pillar is an advocacy coalition of 27 national environmental NGOs and is a national Social Partner.
What is proposed is the bringing together of the current on-campus enterprise initiatives with the Green Campus programme to create a cutting edge living laboratory of every campus in Ireland, where: the aspirations for sustainability are tested at every turn; problem solving and research are part of the syllabus from the day a student enters the door of the college; participatory decision-making processes are road-tested; all aspects of the campus are tested against the aspirations of Agenda 21; and the local community’s needs are accepted as one of the key drivers for scientific, technological and social innovation through the establishment of Science Shops.
This living laboratory model should be piloted over three years, with the three existing Green flag recipients, should they be willing to take up the challenge.  The project should be extended out to all the Third Level institutions that have in the meantime achieved their Green Flag status. All third level institutions are to be given direction down this route with the objective of all having Green Flag status within 5 years and 25% progressing beyond this to “Living Laboratory” status.
2014 Action: DES establishes institution wide pilot processes in each of the three Green Campuses
Kind regards,
Michael Ewing
The Environmental Pillar