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

Mini-Grants Help Support Civic Engagement
The crew at Eco-Defense Radio live at WRFI.

The crew at Eco-Defense Radio live at WRFI.

 

Thanks to Ken Zeserson for his article on our Neighborhood Mini-Grants Program in the May 15, 2016 edition of Tompkins Weekly.  For this article, we focused on three recent grants that supported local citizens in their efforts to create a stronger democracy by telling local stories:

–EcoDefense Radio covers local environmental issues.

–Hot Potato Press provides a platform for everyone to talk about local food issues.

–Tompkins County Workers Center is sponsoring creative ways to illustrate the importance of a living wage.

Our next deadline to apply for a mini-grant is June 1.  Email Sasha@sustainabletompkins.org for an application.

 

 
June 1 Deadline for Next Round of Mini-Grants

NMG full logoApplications for our June 2016 round of Neighborhood Mini-grants are due on or before June 1.

The Neighborhood Mini-grant program began in September 2008 to aid with initiatives promoting environmental sustainability and social and economic vitality in Tompkins County. Grants range from $150-$750 and have been awarded to diverse entities for locally-based initiatives supporting sustainable food systems, alternative transportation, waste reduction, energy conservation, renewable energy production, environmental education, social justice, and community building. Individuals,neighborhood groups, and organizations are welcome to apply.

Proposals are accepted and reviewed quarterly by a team of community members.  To request an application form, or if you have questions, please contact sasha@sustainabletompkins.org.

 
Housing is Key to Sustainability

Can we grow our population and economy while maintaining a sense of place and a sense of fairness?

Convene.  Connect.  Catalyze.  That’s been the formula for Sustainable Tompkins since we started 12 years ago.  As we seek greater justice, resiliency, and well being in our community, we have found that the first step is bringing people together to get a full picture of our current challenges so we can design solutions with everyone in mind.  Today we are asking for your support so we can once again help our community address a critical and complex issue.

2016 Earth Day teach-in on housingLately, we’ve been receiving thanks and acknowledgment from many of the folks who followed our op-ed series or attended our Earth Day teach-in on housing.  It was great to see so many elected officials from the city, town, county, and state join us for a conversation on this complex topic – along with developers, planners, and both urban and rural residents.

Solving our housing shortage in ways that prevent dislocation of modest-income residents, protect the rights of existing neighborhoods, and reduce our fossil-fuel dependency is going to require a great deal of collaboration, analysis, cooperation, and experimentation.

On April 23, we helped our community convene on this issue and begin to connect to each other while also “connecting the dots” to see more of the entirety of the housing problem with its many elements and variables.  After the county’s Housing Needs Assessment comes out in late May, perhaps we can host another stage in this conversation aided by better data.

We’d love to take our work on housing a step further toward catalyzing action, and we are asking for your support to make that happen.  Many of the sustainability shifts in our community of the past decade got their start in conversations hosted by Sustainable Tompkins, and we feel that this housing conversation needs to deepen before it will ripen into appropriate action.  Read more…

Bookmark and Share
 
Signs of Sustainability
Seeking Equal Opportunity in Local Farming

Tompkins Weekly          5-23-16

By Jenn Bassman

If you have ever composted, you have likely heard the term “browns and greens.” It refers to the carbon (brown) and nitrogen (green) materials in your compost bin. Achieving the perfect 3:1 ratio of these substances creates a mixture that turns everyday yard waste into magical garden-enriching gold, aka soil. Fail to include the proper ratio of any part of this recipe, and you wind up with something that may smell from here to the next county or just sit there and do nothing at all. (Bear with me here, there’s a metaphor in all of this.)

At the Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming, all of us on the staff (and several of the board members) are farmers. We think about things in context of soil, water, air, plants, animals, etc. So, when we an article by Leah Pennimen of Soul Fire Farm titled “After a Century in Decline, Black Farmers Are Back and on the Rise,” was sent to us multiple times, it got us thinking about farming, our mission and, well, compost. Of further coincidence, an event called “Browns + Greens: Racial Justice for Radical Sustainability” was held on recently, organized by multiple business and nonprofit leaders of food justice efforts.

Read more…

Bookmark and Share
Sustainability Center Moves into New Home

Tompkins Weekly       5-15-16

By Nick Goldsmith

The Sustainability Center Board of Directors has announced that the center is back in action in its new space in the Ithaca ReUse Center at 214 Elmira Road. Please join us to celebrate this milestone at our grand opening on the evening of Thursday, June 9. Additional details are below.

Until fall 2014, the Sustainability Center was located in a Tompkins County building at the corner of State and Albany streets. Since then, the center has maintained a low level of activity while waiting for its newly renovated space.

“We’re really excited about the new space,” board member and interim director In Shik Lee says. “It’s so accessible, and Ithaca ReUse did a great job with the renovations. The Sustainability Center occupies an open corner of the ReUse Center, which gives us our own identity, but literally leaves the door open to the collaboration between our organizations that is going to be so important.”

The spirit of collaboration, not just with the ReUse Center, but with sustainability organizations countywide, is already visible in the Sustainability Center’s upcoming events.

Read more…

Bookmark and Share
Family Embraces a Change in Lifestyle

Tompkins Weekly     5-9-16

By Mark Silver

My twin seven-year old boys have probably been one of the biggest barriers to my wife and me living a more sustainable life.  

It’s not their fault, of course. They’re just kids, doing their thing. But, when it’s 6pm and we’re surrounded, again, by styrofoam restaurant take-out containers, my heart aches. I know, it’s just take-out food, no mortal sin.

Yet I also know the styrofoam is going to live on in a landfill. I know the food from the restaurant probably came from a global supply chain where the vegetables were grown with poison and the animals led unhappy, unhealthy lives, and all processed and shipped a long way.

On one hand, it’s just normal, how things are done. On the other hand, it’s kinda crazy, don’t you think? We’re surrounded by cows here in Tompkins County, does the hamburger my son eats really need to come from who knows where?

When I’m tired and just trying to get through a rough day with my family, the easy choice is where we sometimes fall, even though that’s not how we would choose to live our lives when we’re rested. This very dynamic is why we’re excited to be moving into our new home at White Hawk Ecovillage this month.

Read more…

Bookmark and Share
ST Blog

Older Posts

How to Get Active on Climate? Even More Locally
Fracking: What Are We FOR?
Sustainability is a Society of Systems Thinkers

Follow our RSS feed

Mini-Grants Help Support Civic Engagement
The crew at Eco-Defense Radio live at WRFI.

The crew at Eco-Defense Radio live at WRFI.

 

Thanks to Ken Zeserson for his article on our Neighborhood Mini-Grants Program in the May 15, 2016 edition of Tompkins Weekly.  For this article, we focused on three recent grants that supported local citizens in their efforts to create a stronger democracy by telling local stories:

–EcoDefense Radio covers local environmental issues.

–Hot Potato Press provides a platform for everyone to talk about local food issues.

–Tompkins County Workers Center is sponsoring creative ways to illustrate the importance of a living wage.

Our next deadline to apply for a mini-grant is June 1.  Email Sasha@sustainabletompkins.org for an application.

 

 
Energy and Equity Go Hand in Hand

WHY WE NEED TO JOIN EFFORTS TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT WITH EFFORTS TO ELIMINATE POVERTY AND RACISM

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