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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Building and Heating With the Climate in Mind

Alternatives seminar Dryden Town Hall 2-19-15If you missed our presentation at the Dryden Town Hall on February 19, you can watch a video of our talk thanks to the efforts of Cris McConkey and Eddie Rodriguez.  Eddie ran the camera system and Cris quickly finished up the editing so that we could share the video with those interested in learning the details about how air and ground-source heat pumps work and how they compare to using methane or propane for space heating and hot water.

We are grateful for the introduction by town board member Linda Lavine and our hosts (Dryden Town Board, the Town Planning Board and the Town Conservation Board).  On an exceptionally bitter cold night with plenty of blowing snow, we were glad to see a crowd of about 30 brave the weather to join us.

Thanks once again to Brice Smith of SUNY Cortland for his excellent work in developing these energy models and his great teaching skills in sharing the results with all of us.  Melissa Kemp of Solar Tompkins hit the highlights on connecting heat pumps to renewably-sourced electricity and reviewed the tax credits and other energy savings that builders and occupants can expect from switching to heat pumps for their space heating and cooling.


Dryden Town Board Hosts Our “Alternatives to Expanding Fossil Fuel Infrastructure” Seminar


Thursday, Feb 19  6-7 pm, Dryden Town Hall

Hosted by Dryden Town Board, the Town Planning Board and the Town Conservation Board

 We often hear the refrain that clean energy technologies hold much promise but are not sufficiently developed for use in today’s markets. This presentation will demonstrate that these technologies are currently viable AND cost effective.

Over the past several months a group of about 40 community members have come together to analyze the need for a new, 7-mile natural gas pipeline through Dryden as proposed by NYSEG. Before committing to such an increased dependency on methane and locking our region into more fossil fuel infrastructure, home owners, contractors, developers, and public decision- makers should become familiar with the current benefits of alternative energy strategies.

This community group has done modeling to compare the costs of space heating and domestic hot water for residential and commercial buildings, fueled by gas versus renewable sources of energy. They will present relevant portions of their analysis.

Join us for a presentation by Dr. Brice Smith, Graduate Program Coordinator in Sustainable Energy Systems, SUNY Cortland.  Melissa Kemp, Program Director of Solar Tompkins, and Gay Nicholson, President of Sustainable Tompkins, will also provide contributions to the program.

This should be of interest to home owners, contractors, developers, and public decision- makers interested in how we will meet our local energy needs now and in the future.

Farewell Party for Sustainability Travelers Includes Carbon Offset

Dan and Farah's FLCF certWe were delighted to be asked by Cornell’s Campus Sustainability Office to help them make a most appropriate gift to departing director Dan Roth – a certificate for offsetting the emissions from the around-the-world trip that Dan and his wife, Farah Hussein, will be taking in the coming year.  Dan and Farah head first to Hawaii, with plans to visit India and then Africa, to create a global initiative on health and sustainability.

Our carbon calculator showed that a trip for two via NYC-Honolulu-New Delhi-Johannesburg-NYC would create just shy of 10 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.  Bert Bland from Cornell Facilities passed the hat among Dan’s campus and community friends and colleagues to purchase the offset through the Finger Lakes Climate Fund.  Carbon offset donations are used for grants to fund energy efficiency projects that would not otherwise be possible in low to moderate income households in the Finger Lakes region. These grants help pay for insulation, air sealing, energy efficient heating equipment, and other upgrades to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

The certificate for their offset was presented at Dan’s farewell party on February 3.  Dan participated in the original study circles that led to the creation of Sustainable Tompkins eleven years ago.  We will miss his unique leadership in our local sustainability movement.  Aloha to Dan and Farah!

Signs of Sustainability
Mothers Out Front: Advocates for Change

Tompkins Weekly 2-23-15

By Neely Kelly

“We are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change and the last that will be able to do anything about it.” -Rising Seas Summit Fall 2014

Russia 2010, 50,000 deaths from record-breaking wildfires. Catastrophic Mississippi River floods, American mid-west 2011. Widespread drought, United States 2012. Hurricane Sandy, 2012. Ever stronger and more frequent tornadoes: Alabama 2011, Missouri, 2011, Oklahoma, 2013. Australia, 2013, a heat wave so intense new weather charts were made. South Buffalo, NY 2014, seven feet of snow on one November day. Our state, our country, our planet, is experiencing a man-made climate crisis. Read more…

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Multi-Faith Award Goes to ‘Safety’ Creators

Tompkins Weekly 2-16-15

By Eric Clay

Sarah Chalmers Simmons and Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr. have been named the recipients of this year’s Multi-Faith World Award. They are the leading forces behind the community-based play SAFETY, which examines community and police relations in Ithaca and Tompkins County. Read more…

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Courage, Despite Oppression, Sustains Us

Tompkins Weekly 2-9-15

By The Rev. Olivia Armstrong

What is sustainability? This might appear elementary, however, I’m trying to set some of us free realizing sustainability depends on the Sun, Air, Water and Trees. Please don’t sneeze. However, there’s no universally agreed definition (which is good). Now, that I have your attention. I thank the Creator that Martin Luther King Jr. and Rev. Al Sharpton didn’t sneeze. (Both were stabbed close to the heart and if they would have sneezed they would have died.) 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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