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Silicon Valley Institute for Global Sustainability (svIGS)



If you are here in response to a message from Jim Morris, his opinion summary is at The Temperate Zone.


A working site into which we can pour our ideas for refinement


The ideas here will be 'strawman/strawdog' ideas subject to addition and revision by the group



A focal point to promote clean technology


svIGS is a focal point institution to address issues of climate change and global sustainability for next fifty years. It is alliance of institutions from academia, industry, and government at the intersection of technology, public policy, and business development. Solving the problems of global sustainability requires such an alliance of interests over a long period.

Sustaining our environment requires continual interaction with civil society. Better communication will make for better policy, products adopted more rapidly and more widely, and more relevant research. IGS creates the vehicle for this communication; IGS pioneers new research, new products and services, and new policy through bringing together these different viewpoints.

The Mission

· Facilitate informed communication among researchers, industry, policy makers and civil society.

· We must identify and inform the credible pathway toward solutions.

· Demonstrate, in a working community, sustainable energy solutions.


· Mobilize people behind the issues surrounding global sustainability

· Give companies visibility into the future.

· Analyze of what works among policy alternatives.

· Educate civil society and policy makers.

· Provide the infrastructure to facilitate informed dialog.

· Provide a program for students to learn skills appropriate to sustainability.

· Offer policy makers the most competent and unbiased feedback on appropriate legislation.

· Engage civil society in the dialogue, enabling people to learn which behaviors can make a difference

· Publicize what works in the issue of sustainability policy

· Measure what is needed now and what may be needed later

In starting and growing the IGS, the general approach will be to strike a balance between “guided” or planned growth and laissez-faire. We will seed the Institute with certain kinds of core activities (such as R&D on alternative energy sources) and some essential types of physical structures. But beyond that it is more powerful to let the Institute’s agenda be shaped by the marketplace of ideas. The emerging technologies that are emphasized, and the schools of thought that develop in policy studies, will be determined largely by those who choose to participate in the IGS.


Commercialization is a key component of the IGS. This includes a wide range of activities, such as: incubating startups and spinouts from other research centers, supporting pre-commercial development work and housing test beds or pilot lines for new technologies.


In addition there is strong sentiment for making public outreach and education a major arm of our project.


Our Institute may include:

· Labs and facilities for R&D in clean technologies. Any and all kinds of parties will be invited to locate these at the svIGS, or to get involved on an ad-hoc project basis: universities, government agencies, private firms, and consortia of all types. The span of work will run from basic research to the testing of actual products and systems, and to include (when appropriate) the incubation of new firms.

· Centers and think tanks for work in public policy. Right now, policy is the least developed aspect of the Valley’s intellectual infrastructure: there is some top-notch resident brainpower, but not on the scale of what exists here in engineering, science, business and finance. The svIGS will be a talent magnet for building up the policy community. We will seek out universities and other entities across the U.S. which have strong public-policy operations, but do not have (and would like to have) a presence in our geography. And along with brainstorming new policies to deal with climate change, the talent drawn here can also be a valuable resource for tackling the many policy issues that affect the software, Internet and biotech industries because these issues, too, are of consequence to the whole world as well as to the region’s economy.

· Living and common areas. Our ultimate vision is to make this Institute more than a research park. Our dream is a green "mini-city" that becomes a beehive of frequent and spontaneous interchange. Many of those who work here may also live (or at least spend a good bit of free time) on the grounds, interacting with each other and with visitors, having the serendipitous encounters that often lead to the best ideas. There will be long-term and guest housing, retail shops, a park and recreation areas — all laid out in a green, people-friendly manner that can give the Valley a new hub and set standards for future development as well.

Although this project was university-initiated — and though Carnegie Mellon and UCSC will be working together to make it happen — it’s not advisable to have the entity housed or owned by any one university. The IGS should be free from the rules and perceptions that apply to a university-based center. An independent initiative or “community” can be 100% mission-focused and is freer to become what it needs to become as it grows.

The Initial Project: Green Shift



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