Sustainable Tompkins is a citizen-based organization working towards the long-term well-being of our communities by integrating social equity, economic vitality, ecological stewardship, and shared responsibility.

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Join us to watch “Disruption” on September 7 at 6:45 pm

Sustainable Tompkins is hosting a free public screening of “Disruption” — a new, fast-paced cinematic journey through the wild world of climate change: the science, the politics, the solutions, and the stories that define this crisis at this pivotal point in human history.

Screen shot 2014-09-03 at 4.02.21 PM

The movie is about an hour long, and after we will discuss the upcoming People’s Climate March in NYC on September 21, and what’s percolating on the climate and energy front in Tompkins County this fall.

If you’ve been thinking about doing more, NOW is the time!  There are so many initiatives underway, but they will need many more of us helping if we are to be successful and get them done in a timely way.  Come discover what you can do or, come share what you are doing!  Bring your friends and family and help them get engaged in this movement.

Watch the trailer here.  You can register to attend here.  Or just show up!  The event will start at 6:45 pm at the Sustainability Center at 111. N. Albany St - at the intersection with State St.

Salon series on “The Climate, the Market, and the Commons” well received

April 17 Gay and speakers

Sustainable Tompkins has concluded its well-attended series of spring salon discussions on “The Climate, the Market, and the Commons.” The salons featured guest speakers and group discussions that addressed the role of business, government, and the citizenry in dealing with climate change.  The salons were held at the Sustainability Center and attracted crowds of 65-85 people.  After initial presentations by guest respondents, the attendees moved through sets of discussion questions related to the evening’s topic.

The first salon in our series addressed the question of “Why are we stuck in climate denial?,” exploring the hurdles of even beginning to address the issue in a meaningful way.  The second salon, “Can business and technology save us?,” contrasted reasons for optimism for a “bright green” technological shift with evidence for a likely economic and ecological system collapse before a transition to clean energy can be completed. “Will government intervene?”, the third salon, brought together representatives from local, state, and federal government to discuss the public sector’s role in addressing climate change. And the last salon took up the question “Is it Up to the People?” with a focus on the clear need for leadership from the grassroots to help shift the market and push government to protect the commons.

You can view videos or listen to podcasts of the salons in the ‘The Climate, the Market, and the Commons’ series:

  • Why Are We Stuck in Climate Denial?    video / podcast - April 17, 2014
  • The Market and the Climate.     video podcast  - May 11, 2014
  • Will Government Intervene?    video podcast - June 5, 2014
  • Is it Up to the People? video / podcast – June 19, 2014

Many thanks to our video sponsors (Home Green Home and PPM Homes) and to Crooked Carrot Farm and Ithaca Bakery for catering donations. Thanks also to the Park Foundation, the guest conversants, the volunteers who worked hard to make the evenings run smoothly, our members, and all of the people who contributed to make the Salons possible.


“Is it Up to the People?” Our final “The Climate, the Market, and the Commons” series salon

April 17 Final SetupAcross the Finger Lakes region, hundreds of people are realizing that it isn’t enough to just be concerned about climate change and the threats posed by the fossil fuel industry. As they watch the paralysis in Albany and Washington DC, they understand that they dare not remain passive, and must move into focused and dedicated action. But they also understand that they need thousands more to join them.

We invite you to join us for “Is It Up to the People?”, the final salon in our “The Climate, the Market, and the Commons” series, on Thursday, June 19, 7 pm, 111 N. Albany St.  We will be exploring the essential roles each of us must play as voter, consumer, taxpayer, and community member if we hope to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Miranda Phillips, Sustainable Tompkins board member and Chair of the Ithaca Chapter of Citizens Climate Coalition, and Reed Steberger of Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative will join Gay Nicholson as speakers to share their experiences in organizing for climate protection.  They will explore ideas for mobilization, identify barriers, and share examples of local initiatives.

The first salons in our series addressed the questions of “Why are we stuck in climate denial?,” “Can business and technology save us?,” and “Will government intervene?” and attracted large audiences for lively discussions. At the last salon, we will take up the question “Is it Up to the People?”

Thursday, June 19, 7 pm, 111 N. Albany St.

You can view videos or listen to podcasts of previous salons in our series on ‘The Climate, the Market, and the Commons’:

  • Why Are We Stuck in Climate Denial?    video / podcast - April 17, 2014
  • The Market and the Climate.     video / podcast  - May 11, 2014
  • Will Government Intervene?    video / podcast – June 5, 2014


Signs of Sustainability
Taking Ownership of Climate Change

Tompkins Weekly 9-15-14

By Wendy Skinner

In the September 1 “Signs of Sustainability” column, Richard W. Franke summarized long-term and continuing evidence of global climate change from a broad range of scientific and technological disciplines. Dr. Franke listed key studies that support the reality of what is happening to our planet. It was an article to be clipped and folded into one’s wallet for future rereading.

Faced with the immediacy of climate change and its consequences, it would seem that, aside from running screaming into the night, we should be vigorously pursuing ways to save our planet. A significant barrier to seeking remedies is not the veracity of scientific evidence, but whether people believe in it. Read more…

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Heating with Wood Pays Dividends

Tompkins Weekly 9-8-14

By Guillermo Metz

Looking out the window, it’s 80 and sunny. But night-time temperatures all summer have periodically dipped into the 50s. Even if there’s no proven relationship between the two, I shudder to think what that means for the coming winter.

With summer, they say it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. With winter, it’s not just the cold but the cost of keeping warm. Last winter was a long, cold one that caught many people off-guard. Particularly for those heating with propane or oil, the high costs of heating put an unexpected dent in many residents’ budgets. But it’s never too late to do something about it. Read more…

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Global Warming Theories Confirmed

Tompkins Weekly 9-1-14

By Richard W. Franke

“Is the Earth’s climate changing? The answer is unequivocally ‘Yes.’” So wrote the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its 2001 Third Assessment Report. The IPCC’s 2001 report reflected an overwhelming scientific consensus that global warming was occurring and that human activities – in particular the release of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere – was a major cause. The Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports have confirmed and elaborated the 2001 document. Read more…

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Sweltering Heat and Drought
Mindfulness Practice and Sustainability

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How to Get Active on Climate? Even More Locally

By Miranda Phillips

With artic ice melting at great speed, and climate disruption happening a hundred years sooner than expected, climate change is promising to be the biggest challenge of the 21st century.  Not often talked about, at least in mainstream media, are the psychological and spiritual aspects of this challenge – among them, fear, guilt, and grief that make it difficult for us to act and act fast. Read more…

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Fracking: What Are We FOR?

 Fracking: We Know What We’re Against. What Are We FOR?
by Maura Stephens

As antifracktivists, we are often accused of being against fracking but not offering any alternatives to “natural” gas. That’s completely wrong. Our NO message is adamant and comprehensive, to be sure: Read more…

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Sustainability is a Society of Systems Thinkers

by Derek Cabrera

What is the Crisis?

My colleagues and I surveyed the faculty of Cornell University to identify how scientists from different disciplines thought about the most pressing crises facing humanity[1]. Respondents brainstormed 116 diverse crises, sorted, and ranked them in terms of importance and solvability. We applied multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis to their answers to the simple question, “What is the crisis?” Read more…

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