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.
Last spring, many of the participants at our Climate Smart & Climate Ready conference thanked us for the session on Climate Justice and Climate Grief, which had provided their first opportunity for sharing their own reactions to climate disruption and the accompanying widespread climate denial. Our keynote speaker Mark Hertsgaard recommended we keep an eye out for Mary Pipher’s new book The Green Boat – Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture.
The book explores the growing prevalence of climate grief (and anger) that activists are experiencing as years turn into decades without much progress in stemming what increasingly looks like catastrophic impacts within the next 50 years. Pipher also examines the frustrating phenomenon of denial and why so many humans refuse to acknowledge what is underway and do anything to counteract or prepare for it.
Pipher’s book is a personal story of her own struggle with climate grief and her ongoing “curative” of engaged activism in fighting the Keystone XL pipeline in her home state of Nebraska. She’s a psychotherapist and author of many books, so of course her instinct was to research, analyze, and share her findings about the “trauma to transcendence” cycle.
Late this summer we organized a book circle for about a dozen local female sustainability activists to explore the themes of The Green Boat and share our own journeys and struggles with the emotions arising from climate change. Such a rich discussion! After two sessions, we agreed to create an ongoing venue of support for activists on the first Sunday of the month, hosted by Jalaja Bonheim, author and founder of the Institute for Circlework. To learn more, contact Miranda@SustainableTompkins.org.
Sustainable Tompkins would like to support members who would like to organize and host a book circle on The Green Boat. If interested, contact Gay@SustainableTompkins.org.
Renewable energy has a way of generating excitement and joy in people – along with its clean power for our homes and businesses. Sustainable Tompkins has been expanding our programming for the Finger Lakes Energy Challenge by hosting monthly meetings for residents in the Village and Town of Lansing where we are looking at the possibilities of investing in community-owned sources of clean energy. It’s been a lot of fun as we get to know each other, and sense our own power to help Lansing reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.
We began in August by showing ‘Empowered’ – a film by ST board member Shira Evergreen about the many ways county residents are leading the way on climate protection. In September, we hosted Solarize Tompkins and learned the details of their 2014 round for group purchasing of solar electric systems and how our Lansing group can participate. In October, we agreed to form 3 working groups to support the countywide solar electric program, organize our own solar hot water group purchase, and begin researching how we can do a pilot community-owned microhydro project on Salmon Creek. We believe that forming these smaller community-based teams will let us grow the movement for locally-owned clean energy and provide a setting for inspiring efficiency investments and conservation measures.
Sometimes there are acts of generosity that are so inspiring they develop their own force field – drawing in others to amplify the original intention of making the world just a little better. The story of the latest Finger Lakes Climate Fund grant of $3,457 from Sustainable Tompkins to the Second Wind cottages in Newfield is about the intersection of two such force fields.
A few months ago an anonymous donor approached Sustainable Tompkins (ST) with the idea of creating a Sustainable Newfield fund where people concerned about climate disruption could donate money to help lower-income residents in Newfield make their homes more efficient and less dependent on fossil fuel. Other donors have since joined in to help with this mission of slowing climate impacts by helping those least able to afford rising energy bills.
Their generosity intersected with that of the Community Faith Partners when one of their members approached ST about the possibility of applying for a climate fund grant to help pay for the insulation of six cottages they are building this fall on donated land in Newfield. The cottages are to house homeless men, and make up the new Second Wind project – Read more…
Tompkins Weekly 11-25-13
By Wendy Skinner
Consumers increasingly want to know more about the goods they buy: where they come from, what they are made of, and who made them. For most consumer items, that knowledge is almost impossible to acquire in any detail that might influence a buying decision. Read more…
Tompkins Weekly 11-18-13
By James A. Balyszak
Cayuga Inlet Hydrilla Project
2013: A Year-End Retrospect
When new patches of the highly invasive aquatic plant hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) were found in Fall Creek and the southeast corner of Cayuga Lake in August, the Hydrilla Task Force of the Cayuga Lake Watershed responded quickly. Read more…
Tompkins Weekly 11-11-13
By Abbe Lyons
With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the news, health insurance and health care are on many people’s minds. The good news is that health insurance coverage will be more widely available, and for some, there is financial assistance that may make it more affordable. The choices are complex. Read more…
Older PostsDon’t Thank an Antifracktivist
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…