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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Home Rule and the Greater Good

Screen shot 2015-06-17 at 6.56.25 PMAfter hours of discussion at the June 16th county legislative meeting, the vote on the fate of the Old Library ended in a stalemate of 6 in favor of a large apartment complex for seniors (TravisHyde), and 6 in favor of a smaller adaptive reuse condo project (Franklin Properties) which had hundreds of petition supporters and inspired dozens of citizens to show up and speak in favor of the Franklin proposal.

The vote was pretty much split along geographic lines with those representing the urban/suburban core of the county (Chock, Shinagawa, McBean-Clairborne, Burbank, Kiefer) backing the project that had widespread neighborhood support (along with Klein from Caroline/Danby). Those supporting the large 63-unit apartment complex came from the more rural parts of the county (Dryden, Groton, Lansing, Ulysses, Enfield/Newfield). These rural reps stressed the need for adding housing to try and relieve the incessant demand that has driven up the price of shelter. Residents of the historic DeWitt neighborhood around the old library spoke strongly about the importance of adding density appropriate to the scale and character of the location, and pointed to other Read more…

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2015 People’s Choice ‘Signs of Sustainability’ Awards Presented
Kitty Gifford of Sustainable Tompkins shares the details of awards presented to Melissa Kemp, Brice Smith, Phoebe Brown, and Irene Weiser for sustainability leadership by individuals. (Photo credit: Craig Tucker)

Kitty Gifford of Sustainable Tompkins shares the details of awards presented to Melissa Kemp, Brice Smith, Phoebe Brown, and Irene Weiser for sustainability leadership by individuals. (Photo credit: Craig Tucker)

According to a recent poll, Ithaca’s most popular “power couple” is Melissa Kemp and Brice Smith. Renewable power, that is.

Melissa and Brice won 4th place as a couple in the Individual category of the 2015 People’s Choice ‘Signs of Sustainability’ poll for their work in promoting our transition to clean renewable energy. They tied with Phoebe Brown for her community development work with Building Bridges and Irene Weiser for her leadership on opposing the repowering of the Cayuga coal plant.

Nonagenarian Martha Ferger of Dryden came in 3rd place for her advocacy for social justice and climate action (including getting arrested protesting gas storage under Seneca Lake). Dan Flerlage, a local teacher and mentor for the Youth Farm Project, tied for second place with Joe Wilson, a leader in the fight against installation of a gas pipeline in Dryden.

Nick Goldsmith, the Sustainability Coordinator for both the City and Town of Ithaca won the honor of 1st place for individual effort. As the host of countless meetings for the City and Town comprehensive plans, Nick is one of the more visible practitioners of sustainability in our community. Read more…

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Earth Day 2015 – Voices Past, Voices Present

In honor of the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, Sustainable Tompkins will again host the Earth Day Ithaca celebration on Sunday, April 19, from Noon to 8PM, bringing the community together for a day of celebration, eco-activism, and entertainment. This year the event is co-sponsored by a Tompkins County Community Celebrations Grant and GreenStar Cooperative Market, and will be held at The Space (at GreenStar,) featuring local inspirational speakers, entertainers, musicians, poets, earth-friendly exhibitors, and more. The program has been expanded to include an open mike Earth Jam/Poetry Slam, with the voices of today’s poets, rappers, and small music acts to perform 10-minute sets. Folks interested in tabling or volunteering, please contact Joey Diana Gates at solkitchen1@gmail.com or call (607) 644-5525.  Schedule of events below:  Read more…

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Signs of Sustainability
Make Your Voice Heard in Congress

Tompkins Weekly 7-27-15

By Miranda Phillips

You probably believe either or both of the following:  1. Congress will never act on climate. 2. We have little influence in the matter.

I’m writing to argue the very opposite: Congress is right now very interested in climate solutions, and wants to hear from you.

What makes me think so?    If you’ve read the July 10 op-ed in the Ithaca Journal, “Re-think what you know about Republicans and their stance on climate change”, you already know something of this. Read more…

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Summer Abundance Through Sharing

Tompkins Weekly 7-20-15

by Sophie Somerfeldt

Golden sunshine and sweet summer breezes can bring out our most generous selves. Can a ‘sharing mood’ around transportation bring out the best in our whole community? Here are five ways it already is, and how you can get in on the summer fun.

1) Sharing rides. Every parent wants their child to succeed, and it turns out that participating in sports, musicals or other organized, peer-group ‘extras’ aren’t extra after all–the social connections, new skills and leadership development leads to more successful students. This past year and heading into the next, the Ithaca City School District has become increasingly committed to encouraging all students to join in at least one of these school-based activities and to not letting transportation barriers stand in the way. Read more…

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Weaver Wind: Energy Independence at Home in Tompkins County

Tompkins Weekly 7-13-15

By Peter Zibinski

Did you know wind turbines are being designed and manufactured right here in Tompkins County?

At Weaver Wind Energy, we are re-thinking energy distribution and creating a sustainable business model in the process. Weaver Wind is dedicated to the creation of reliable small wind systems and every one of our machines is designed and assembled in the Village of Freeville, just a few minutes from Ithaca.

Tompkins County is a renowned center of free thought, sustainable values, and talented individuals.  Our five-year journey, from R&D through to final product, has been made possible by the ardent support of our fellow community members.  Read more…

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Home Rule and the Greater Good

Screen shot 2015-06-17 at 6.56.25 PMAfter hours of discussion at the June 16th county legislative meeting, the vote on the fate of the Old Library ended in a stalemate of 6 in favor of a large apartment complex for seniors (TravisHyde), and 6 in favor of a smaller adaptive reuse condo project (Franklin Properties) which had hundreds of petition supporters and inspired dozens of citizens to show up and speak in favor of the Franklin proposal.

The vote was pretty much split along geographic lines with those representing the urban/suburban core of the county (Chock, Shinagawa, McBean-Clairborne, Burbank, Kiefer) backing the project that had widespread neighborhood support (along with Klein from Caroline/Danby). Those supporting the large 63-unit apartment complex came from the more rural parts of the county (Dryden, Groton, Lansing, Ulysses, Enfield/Newfield). These rural reps stressed the need for adding housing to try and relieve the incessant demand that has driven up the price of shelter. Residents of the historic DeWitt neighborhood around the old library spoke strongly about the importance of adding density appropriate to the scale and character of the location, and pointed to other Read more…

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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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