Trust for Governors Island Launches Living Lab, a New Slate of Public Programs Amplifying Climate Action in New York City and Beyond
Jun 20, 2023 12:00 am
The Living Lab on Governors Island, a key part of the Center for Climate Solutions, includes annual climate solutions challenge, educational field trips, and climate-focused community convening space.
The Trust for Governors Island announced today the launch of the Living Lab, a new platform for research, partnerships, and programs to amplify climate action. Initiatives announced today include an annual climate solutions challenge open to nonprofit organizations, entrepreneurs, and start-ups; the launch of climate field trip programs; and an interim community convening space on the Island. The Living Lab marks an exciting step forward in Governors Island’s growth as a resource for climate innovation and will help accelerate, adopt, and implement equitable climate solutions here in New York City and across the world.
“When we announced the New York Climate Exchange as part of the Center for Climate Solutions, we said New Yorkers and visitors to Governors Island would start to see an impact quickly. The Living Lab is one example of that impact,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “Through this platform, New York City public school students will have opportunities for hands-on learning about solutions to the climate crisis, and experts will develop tools for them to bring what they learn back to their schools and their communities. We cannot just talk about solving the climate crisis — we must be about it, and the Living Lab will give all of us more tools to turn our words into actions.”
“The Living Lab will help shine a light on the incredible research and innovations our city has to offer,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “The initiatives announced today will create more opportunities for New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds to directly engage with climate solutions — in the classroom, on Governors Island, and beyond.”
“Governors Island is an unmatched setting for students, nonprofits, businesses, and entrepreneurs alike to learn about and test real world climate solutions. Through the Living Lab, our commitment to equitable climate education and action, community convening, and one-of-a-kind pilot opportunities will bring tangible solutions one step closer to becoming a reality both here in NYC and around the world,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island.
“At Amazon, we’re actively working to reduce emissions to reach net zero carbon by 2040, so this partnership is one that we deeply value. We’re also thrilled to support this collaboration with the Living Lab, so we can work with the smartest minds to help tackle solutions to climate change,” said Carley Graham Garcia, Amazon’s Head of Community Affairs, New York.
“Governors Island is a little island with big ideas,” said Arturo Garcia-Costas, The New York Community Trust’s program officer for environmental grantmaking. “We are thrilled to support its efforts to encourage new thinking and innovative problem-solving to the all-hands-on-deck challenge of human-driven climate change.”
“Climate mitigation and resilience work is essential to protecting our communities, especially our most vulnerable communities, from the impacts of climate change. Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation is proud to support the Living Lab in order to foster a space for solutions to climate change,” said Lisa Talma, Vice President of Philanthropic Initiatives in the Community Development Finance Group at Deutsche Bank.
“We are proud to support the Living Lab and the Trust for Governors Island’s work to bring together research, partnerships, and programs to amplify climate action as part of Mayor Adams’ Center for Climate Solutions. Climate change threatens our underserved communities the most, and through initiatives such as the annual climate solutions challenge, educational field trips, and the climate-focused community convening space, the Living Lab will foster fresh energy, build bridges toward equitable solutions, and inspire positive change for all New Yorkers,” said Valerie White, LISC NY Senior Executive Director.
The Living Lab’s Climate Solutions Piloting Program includes two components: a themed Annual Challenge and a general rolling call. Applications for the Annual Challenge, a recurring summer challenge with new themes and a cash prize, are due by August 15, 2023. This year’s theme, Water Abundance, seeks proposals addressing how water can help to power climate solutions that grow blue and green jobs and create healthier communities. Through the Annual Challenge, up to five winners will receive a piloting project site, a $10,000 grant award, and access to a common pool of $100,000 in additional support. Separately, the general rolling call for proposals is open for testing and demonstrating climate solutions across all disciplines. Non-profit organizations, entrepreneurs, and start-ups are invited to apply to the Annual Challenge online at www.govisland.org/challenge.
Another integral educational component of the Living Lab is the development of a suite of environmental curricula for educators and students to access during visits to Governors Island, providing opportunities for young New Yorkers to learn about climate change and practice climate actions that they can take back to their classroom and community. The climate focused field trips pilot will launch in the fall of 2023 and expand to year-round day trips for New York City students grades three through eight. The Trust is currently seeking an educational curriculum consultant as part of this initiative via a Request for Proposals. An interim convening space that showcases innovative resilient and sustainable design and supports programming, workshops and gatherings hosted by non-profits, environmental justice organizations, and commercial partners that are open to all Governors Island visitors, will also be a feature of the Living Lab.
The Living Lab is made possible with the generous support of Amazon, Con Edison, Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust, the New York Community Trust, Deutsche Bank, and LISC.
The Center for Climate Solutions was announced as a key piece of New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ “Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent: A Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery.” Dedicated to preparing New York City and cities around the world for climate change, the Center for Climate Solutions is a multi-pronged initiative that will create a singular physical hub committed to researching and demonstrating urban climate solutions, and advancing education, training, and workforce development opportunities for New Yorkers in climate and environmental fields.
Following a two-year competitive process, in May Mayor Eric Adams and the Trust for Governors Island announced the selection of The New York Climate Exchange, a new cross-sector nonprofit organization as the anchor educational and research institution for the Center for Climate Solutions. Led by Stony Brook University, the Exchange will create a state-of-the-art, $700-million, 400,000-square-foot campus dedicated to researching and developing innovative climate solutions that will be scaled across New York City and the world and that will equip New Yorkers to hold the green jobs of the future. The Exchange will also create thousands of permanent green jobs and generate $1 billion in economic impact for New York City. The consortium will function as a hub for education and training to grow green jobs for New Yorkers and includes 15 members representing leading universities from around the world, as well as business and nonprofit organizations dedicated to developing and deploying solutions to the global climate crisis.