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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Vote today in the People’s Choice ‘Signs of Sustainability’ poll

Who inspired you over the past year with their efforts to create a more sustainable Tompkins County?  Do you know a young person bucking the trend of consumerism? A business looking out for the broader interests of the community? Perhaps a senior citizen speaking up against pollution? Or an organization making progress on the interlinked goals of community well being, ecological stewardship, and a resilient local economy?

You can honor their work by nominating them for recognition in our annual community sustainability awards.   The People’s Choice Signs of Sustainability will be selected through an online poll of community members who nominate those they believe made a contribution in the past year toward making ours a more sustainable and just community. Nominees and the top vote getters will be announced at the annual Earth Day Ithaca celebration on Sunday, April 19, 12-5 pm, at The Space.  Read more about the Signs of Sustainability program.

Voting is simple. Categories are for sustainability-enhancing activities by a 1) Organization, 2) Business, 3) Individual(s) or 4) Youth (<21).  We will be looking for nominees in a wide range of sectors: Transportation, Food Systems, Energy & Climate, Buildings & Infrastructure, Democracy & Social Justice, Arts & Culture, Health & Well Being, Waste Reduction, Resilient Economy, Community Development, and Natural Resource Conservation.  You can vote up to 5 times.  Polls will be open March 23 through April 8.  VOTE HERE.

Heat Pump Workshop for Developers and Builders

Slide18Sustainable Tompkins will be hosting a special presentation on “Building and Heating With the Climate in Mind” on Tuesday, March 17 from 1:00-3:00 pm at Hotel Ithaca (222 S. Cayuga St.).  This event is for anyone connected to the building sector in our area: developers, architects, engineers, builders, mortgage bankers, realtors, contractors, electricians, suppliers, designers, plumbers, elected officials, and planning boards.

NYS and Tompkins County are set to make progress on their climate action goals by enacting new energy systems and policies to promote efficiency, demand management, and renewable supplies.  The building sector is on a parallel course, with leading edge developers demonstrating impressive energy savings with better design and deployment of proven technologies.

Tompkins County recently affirmed its commitment to support economic development that helps us reach our goal of 80% emission reductions by 2050.  Read more…

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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. Read more…

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Signs of Sustainability
Sustainability and Community

Tompkins Weekly 3-23-15
By Susan Rausch

Camp Earth Connection (CEC) is a Natural Campground, a Retreat Center and a Children’s Summer Camp.  CEC offers people a safe space for meaningful connections in a beautiful natural environment.   When CEC writes about community in its brochures, web page or programs, CEC is talking about an inclusive community.  One which includes for example, people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, different family types, LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgendered) folks and families with limited financial resources.   For a community to be truly sustainable, it must be inclusive and representative all of  the members of the community.  The minority must always have a voice and be heard in an equitable way and must also be part of the decision making.  If  the “Sustainability Movement”  does not have representation from all of it’s community, who is the community sustainable for and what is it sustaining?   Read more…

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The Gift of Water

Tompkins Weekly 3-16-15

By Sharon Anderson

“April showers bring May flowers.” When showers turn to heavy rain, they can wash out roads, damage foundations and carry pollution to streams. Rather than channeling rainwater off your property into storm drains or roadside ditches, a catchment system such as a rain barrel or rain garden lets you make use of the gift of water. The runoff collected from rooftops is ideal for lawns, gardens and car washing because it has no chlorine residue and little sediment or dissolved minerals. Read more…

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Youth Speak Out on Personal Struggles

Tompkins Weekly 3-9-15

By Rev. Olivia Armstrong

This is a continuation of a story (Tompkins Weekly, Feb. 9) from youth and children. This article talks about bi-racial youth and children, and about both internal and external turmoil because of the first acknowledgement of skin color.

My purpose is to give these brave and courageous youth a public voice and exposure of an important social problem. Anthony S., 17, a New Roots Charter School student, states “I have always struggled. But my struggle is not as broadcasted as many other struggles of the world. It is a struggle only felt within for those whom it applies. A struggle that shouldn’t even be a struggle. I am talking about my race.” Read more…

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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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