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.

More About Sustainable Tompkins

News & Events

Sustainable Tompkins Gains Independent 501c3 Status

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 8.14.03 PM Sustainable Tompkins got some good news at the end of the 2015 calendar year!  We received our notification from the IRS that our own 501c3 status has been finally granted.  We’ve been under the fiscal umbrella of Social Ventures for many years, and we’ve been grateful to Sara Hess, Jeff Furman, and Chuck Guttman for their board’s willingness to give our donors a place to make their tax-deductible gifts.  Sustainable Tompkins paid a 5% fee to Social Ventures, and having our own tax-deductible status will save us money and streamline our operations.

Much gratitude is also due to Chuck Guttman who served as our pro bono attorney for the lengthy filing, and to Board member Dick Franke for picking up where others left off in completing the many steps involved in compiling documents for an organization with our long history.  Thanks also to office helpers Peter FitzRandolph and Nancy Robbins for pulling together all the elements needed!

Tompkins County Legislature Hears Comments on Local Climate Action

TC Legislature 12-15-15

(Fossil Free Tompkins organized a rally and speak-out to the Tompkins County Legislature on December 15 to encourage them to act boldly and quickly to eliminate fossil fuel consumption in our county.  More than 60 attended and 30+ provided comments.  Below are remarks by Sustainable Tompkins President Gay Nicholson.)

The Paris climate talks have concluded, and although we can celebrate this initial acknowledgment to stay below 2 C of warming and to at least measure and report emissions, we all know that much more needed to be accomplished at this point in the climate transition.

The next five years will be critical for global climate systems. The next two years of this legislative term must be used to start really digging into the detailed work of emission reductions. Read more…

Bookmark and Share
Solidarity in the Garden

West Hill Garden with Yayoi copyThe harvest season in local community gardens has wound down, except perhaps for lingering beds of hardy kales and leeks. But a different kind of harvest persists all yearlong, arising out of the intertwined relationships of the gardeners with the broader community. Yes, the gardens are for food production and improved nutrition, but they also are about solidarity, sharing, and a shift to more sustainable lifestyles.

Sustainable Tompkins has invested repeatedly in these relationships over the past seven years. Dozens of their Neighborhood Mini-Grants have been awarded to community volunteers to purchase essential equipment and building materials to get the gardens up and running. It can be difficult for one person to start a program or garden for the community without easy access to supplies or money. Deer fencing is perhaps the most common request, but tools and sheds and raised beds and watering systems are all necessary too. Without this infrastructure, it would be hard for the volunteers to get their gardens growing. Read more…

Bookmark and Share
Signs of Sustainability
What you can do to help sustainability efforts in Tompkins in 2016

Ithaca Voice        1-27-16

By Tom Shelley

The local sustainability movement, in all of its various manifestations, has developed significantly in Ithaca and Tompkins County over the past few years. As anyone involved with efforts in climate, environmental, and social and economic justice issues knows, there is much that remains to be done.

I would like to take this opportunity to suggest some directions to pursue in the coming year.

Read more…

Bookmark and Share
Composting Since World War II

Ithaca Voice      1-12-16

By Adam Michaelides

Those who get into composting often really get into composting. For the 24th year, Master Composter training will be offered in Tompkins County. The training provides an entry point into the world of microbes and provides education in the language and practicalities of making compost. Not all compost enthusiasts, however, have been through our program. Last summer I had the pleasure of meeting an extraordinary one. I’d like to tell you a little bit about him.

Read more…

Bookmark and Share
Gifts that Increase the Durability of our Community

Tompkins Weekly 11-30-15

By Devan Rosen

Although each day holds many things to be thankful for, it is the chilly days approaching the winter solstice, and the holidays that surround it, that create a particularly welcome milieu for warm thanks. Expressing our thanks and love to the many people that enrich our lives is one of the most valuable things we can do, and having a time of the year where so many cultures and communities use the confluence of celebration and introspection to shine a particularly bright light on the act of expressing these thanks creates a large vessel. Read more…

Bookmark and Share
ST Blog

Older Posts

Fracking: What Are We FOR?
Sustainability is a Society of Systems Thinkers
Don’t Thank an Antifracktivist

Follow our RSS feed

Energy and Equity Go Hand in Hand


Urgent challenges being addressed in Tompkins County

Extreme income inequality, persistent racism, and increasing climate disruption are undeniable plagues of our time. We are fortunate that many people in Tompkins County are working on these issues. Some are advocates for racial and economic justice, such as creating living-wage jobs, removing barriers to reentry from the prison system, and ensuring affordable housing for all. Many others are involved in initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, such as, stopping gas infrastructure development, switching from fossil fuels to renewable sources, and conserving energy in housing, transportation, food, water, and waste. Read more…

Bookmark and Share
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…

Bookmark and Share
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…

Bookmark and Share