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.
Local radio host Juliana Garcia invited ST’s President Gay Nicholson and Board Chair Tom Shelley to join her on February 15 for her weekly ‘Talk of the Town’ show on WVBR. Listen here to check out our wide-ranging conversation about living more sustainably.
The Finger Lakes Climate Fund has awarded its eighth carbon offset grant to a local business. Late last spring, a dreadful fire destroyed the barn at Cayuga Pure Organics (CPO) in Brooktondale along with all the equipment they used for cleaning and packaging organic dry beans and grains grown at their farm and by other local farmers.
As the only major supplier of organic beans in the region, CPO had become a key player in efforts to rebuild a secure local food system. Facing bankruptcy, the company launched a fundraising campaign and its customers, fans, and dozens of local food advocates responded with more than $87,000 in donations to help them rebuild.
Sustainable Tompkins, got involved when Snug Planet, the energy contractor for the building, realized they might be able to eliminate the need for a fossil fuel heating system if they could qualify for a grant from the Finger Lakes Climate Fund to help pay for the insulation upgrades. By creating a passive, super-insulated processing facility, the beanery will be able to stay within its required temperature range without supplemental heating or cooling.
The additional insulation will prevent 158 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the next 30 years, which qualified CPO for the maximum Climate Fund grant of $2,500. This funding was made possible by a generous gift from an anonymous donor whose concern about climate change inspired him to offset several years of carbon emissions through the Finger Lakes Climate Fund.
It’s been a challenging year for the CPO team, but thanks to generous support from the community, the jobs of the young farmers have been saved along with this important component of a healthy local food supply. All this – plus a lighter carbon footprint in the years ahead.
Sustainable Tompkins is pleased to co-host a visit to Ithaca by Peter Donovan of the Soil Carbon Coalition from Thursday, February 6 to Sunday, February 9. Peter is part of a movement to use systems thinking to help us “manage wholes” and find the right scale of intervention to solve problems.
We’ve all been involved in the many tasks of making our community more sustainable and resilient in the face of escalating change. Everything we are all doing in green building, energy efficiency, resource conservation, and renewables is an essential part of taking responsibility for our shared future.
But we don’t often talk about the dirt under our feet, and affirm its primary role in helping to regulate atmospheric carbon and slow climate disruption. Yet, a mass effort to move carbon from the air and into the soil is needed to decelerate the rate of planetary warming. If we did this, we’d also rapidly address a number of linked problems as illustrated in our elephant friend.
We’ve been interested in adding soil carbon storage to our portfolio of climate protection projects for the Finger Lakes Climate Fund, and we’re looking forward to a wider conversation with farmers, land managers, developers, policymakers, and citizens interested in doing all we can to protect our climate.
We hope you will join us for the public lecture on February 6 up at Ithaca College, or the all-day workshop on February 8 (see details below).
To get a sense of how fundamental the carbon cycle is to climate change, please watch this video (in two segments) by Peter. Then mark your calendar for February 6!
With thanks to our partners Snug Planet, Sustainability at Ithaca College, and the Good Life Farm! Read more…
Tompkins Weekly 3-3-14
By Bob Rossi
I arrived at SewGreen with two SEEN member cards in my pocket, a smile on my face and a broken zipper on my coat. “Well, let’s get you fixed up first,” offered Wendy Skinner, founder and director of Ithaca’s non-profit sustainable sewing center.
As she mended my zipper, we talked about her upcoming event. SewGreen is the site of the first in a series of “cash mobs” organized by the Sustainable Enterprise & Entrepreneur Network (SEEN). The Ithaca community is invited to converge on SewGreen at 112 N. Cayuga St. in downtown Ithaca between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 22. Refreshments, classroom tours, free activities and special deals will be offered all day. Read more…
Tompkins Weekly 2-24-14
By Steve Gabriel
Living in the Finger Lakes, the change from winter to spring is often quite dramatic and enthusiastically welcomed by residents who are sometimes a bit weary after months of bundling up, scraping car windows, and shoveling sidewalks. While the signs of the seasonal change can come in many forms, perhaps there is no better pulse than the process of maple sugaring, which quite literally ebbs and flows based on the changing of temperate. Warm days above freezing coupled with colder nights below 32 degrees F mean the sap is flowing – and spring is coming. Read more…
Tompkins Weekly 2-17-14
By Becky Sims
If you’ve ever needed your water tested, you might have come to the Community Science Institute (CSI). Tucked away on the second floor of Langmuir Lab by the Ithaca airport, CSI does much more than residential water testing. Read more…
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Sweltering Heat and Drought
Mindfulness Practice and Sustainability
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…
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…
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. 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…