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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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 or call (607) 644-5525.  Schedule of events below:  Read more…

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Neighborhood Mini-Grants Fundraising Campaign Launched

Youth Roots photo 1, 2014The Board and staff of Sustainable Tompkins invite you to join us in building a more sustainable community – one small project at a time.

We are thrilled to announce our new campaign for our wonderful Neighborhood Mini-Grants Program. Since 2008, the Neighborhood Mini-grants program has awarded more than $55,000 to support 140+ innovative, grassroots projects throughout Tompkins County. Our goal is to support and stimulate resident-based, “bottom-up” initiatives that improve the quality of life of residents by building capacity, resilience, and leadership through collaborative projects.

It’s a wonderful program and with your help, we can continue to help local residents build a more resilient and connected community!  Sustainable Tompkins is working with the good folks at GiveGab to raise funds to support the Mini-Grants Program in 2015.  Please visit our Campaign Page today to see some of the cool projects from our most recent batch of applications that you can help support. Read more…

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Signs of Sustainability
Tune in to Radio-Supported Community

Tompkins Weekly 5-25-15

By Volunteers at WRFI

As we say in our station identification, WRFI is volunteer-run, listener-supported, non-commercial local radio. We broadcast at 88.1 fm and live-stream at  Noted in our Mission Statement is our commitment to peace, justice, sustainability, freedom of expression, cultural diversity, integrity, and joy.  What we love about this list is how “sustainability” is nestled in there, so modest, willing to make room for the other lofty goals, a long word and a quiet one.

Read more…

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Crowdfunding: Reaching your PEAKS

Tompkins Weekly 5-18-15

By Ray Weaver

PEAKS, a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, is the region’s original crowdfunding and event registration platform, helping local non-profit agencies raise money through online giving. In the past three years, PEAKS has helped over 60 area organizations raise over $400,000 of funding for a variety of programming including financial literacy, free and low-cost health care, youth educational opportunities, community development and more. Read more…

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Forests are in trouble, but people can help

Tompkins Weekly 5-11-15

By Steve Gabriel

Around the world, traditional and modern cultures have long valued systems that either make productive use of existing forests or grow new ones with a mixture of beneficial tree crops, shrubs, and herbaceous plants. In other words, agroforestry, forest farming, and forest gardening are not new concepts, but in many senses the way people grew and gathered food and other materials for much of the time humans have spent on earth. Read more…

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Older Posts

Don’t Thank an Antifracktivist
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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