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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Children of a Lesser God?
Protest at Crestwood site 10/24/14

Protest at Crestwood site 10/24/14

Sustainable Tompkins stands with the residents of the Finger Lakes Region opposing construction of Crestwood’s methane gas storage in the abandoned salt caverns under Seneca Lake –the heart of a regional economy based on tourism, wine, and farming.  But it seems the citizens of our region are “children of a lesser god.”  At least, employees at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) seem to think so, as they’ve granted a permit to Crestwood for this risky project despite allegations of withholding critical geologic data.

Apparently, a majority of the Schuyler County legislature and Reading town board accept that their constituents don’t have rights to clean air and clean water as they have acquiesced to the interests of out-of-state corporations.  The rail and truck traffic forecast for the depot guarantees significant air pollution in the valley, and the risk of leaks and spills into groundwater or the lake is also very high.  In contrast, four county legislatures and nine municipal boards in the surrounding area have voted against the gas depot because it threatens the quality of life, health, and economic well being of their constituents.

A thorough risk analysis led by Dr. Rob MacKenzie (retired president of Cayuga Medical Center) was done at the request of a Schuyler County legislator.  The risk of a major accident or failure during transport or storage at the facility is estimated at nearly 40% over the next 25 years.  That’s an exceptionally high risk to force upon the residents of any region.   Read more…

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Speaking Up Against Fossil Fuel Dependency
The promise of wind energy.

We must transition now!

Sustainable Tompkins submitted the following statement to the Tompkins County Planning, Energy, and Environmental Quality Committee on October 15.  The committee heard from the Chamber of Commerce president that they are in full support of the build-out of gas pipelines in our community.  Gay Nicholson joined 4 other members of the local group opposing the Dryden pipeline in speaking to the committee about our concerns:

In 2008, our Tompkins County legislature adopted a goal of reducing county greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 as part of its Energy Element amendment to the county comprehensive plan.

For any county goal to be meaningful, we have to make sure there is alignment with our other goal-setting, policymaking, and budgeting activities. We especially need greater coordination between our energy and climate goals and our economic development strategy. Tompkins County needs to insist on full-cost accounting and risk assessment whenever proposals to expand fossil fuel-dependency are brought forth. Read more…

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Temporary Office for Sustainable Tompkins
Karen and Irene in our first meeting at the new office.

Karen and Irene in our first meeting at the new office.


Sustainable Tompkins has had to move out of our beloved office at 109 S. Albany St.  Taitem Engineering is growing so fast that they need their former building back to house their new employees.  We’re delighted to see Taitem thriving, but unfortunately our new space on Elmira Road won’t be ready for several more months.

We were going to “float” for the next few months in several locations, but thanks to Stu Staniford, one of our Finger Lakes Climate Fund supporters, we were able to relocate to his office building at 317 N. Aurora St.  (Next to the big yellow house where United Way is located.)  It’s a lovely historic house and we’ll be occupying the two front rooms to the end of December.  We’re so grateful for the cohesiveness that a single office space provides for our staff and office volunteers.  Come by and visit us!


Signs of Sustainability
Ithaca CRT: A Community Affair

Tompkins Weekly 10-27-14

By Kat McCarthy

At one weekend-long event on the Ithaca Commons, Ithaca CRT (Compost, Recycling, & Trash) helped divert more than two-thirds of waste from the landfill, resulting in over 4 tons, or 8,000 pounds of materials being composted and recycled. Where they were once trashed, items are now made into new products and a valuable soil amendment. Ithaca CRT started over seven years ago as a volunteer organization dedicated to offering special event organizers assistance in achieving a goal of zero waste generated at their event. It’s been a great success over the years as events reduce waste and attendees learn how to recycle – all while supporting a local composting business. Read more…

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Making Connections: Sharing Rides, Sustainability and Successful Students

Tompkins Weekly 10-20-14

By Sophie Somerfeldt

Many of us remember that mix of feelings as fresh fall breezes and turning leaves usher in a new school year. To help make the year a successful one for students and their communities, several local partners are making new inroads around transportation, and you can play a part, too. Read more…

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Healthcare: Discovering our way to well-being

Tompkins Weekly 10-13-14

By Eric Clay

For Stu, it was the moment he realized how much he depended on the letter carrier and the cashier at the nearby convenience store. These nearly unknown neighbors had his back. They noticed when he was not healthy or sounding confused and encouraged him to go to the doctor or take better care of himself. Stu did not like the interference of family and tolerated feedback only from the closest of friends. 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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