Signs of Sustainability

We have a long way to go, but we're making progress. Here are some signs that we are moving towards sustainability.

December 6, 2016

Dish Truck, a Personal Story

Tompkins Weekly       12-6-16

By Joey Gates

In 1981, I got my first paying job in 8th grade as the school cafeteria dishwasher’s assistant.

The school served lunch on real (melamine) trays and we used metal silverware. It was a fast-paced gig in that the trays, which were emptied further up the line would come off the conveyer belt, get sprayed down, stacked and then loaded into racks and pushed into the machine. Garbage was minimal, but that was to change. Schools, and society as a whole would transition to greater dependency on disposable dishware. I was blessed to travel widely as a young adult and witnessed the effects of this shift, and the exponential increase in garbage creation.

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November 28, 2016

Alternative Gifts Don’t Need to be the Alternative

Tompkins Weekly      11-28-16

By Devan Rosen

As we enter the beautiful winter season, full of moments in which we take time to appreciate the bounty of the fall harvest, the abundance of holiday gatherings and the wonderful community we live in.

One community initiative, however, will not be happening this year – as the Ithaca Alternative Gift Fair will not take place in 2016. After 12 wonderful years, and more than $550,000 in donations to participating organizations, the IAGF no longer has a fiscal sponsor.

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November 21, 2016

Tipping Points

Tompkins Weekly     11-21-16

By Richard W. Franke

Here is a thought experiment. Place a full glass of red wine on the table. Push the top of the glass slowly over – at some point the glass will fall suddenly on its own, spill and possibly break. Now it is impossible to get all the wine back into the glass. It may even be impossible to fix the glass to ever be useful again. You pushed it past the tipping point. Other terms sometimes used for tipping point include “threshold effect” and “critical transition.”

Tipping points are points in the behavior of a system in which a sudden, dramatic, or “nonlinear” event occurs. Tipping points are an important element of “systems thinking,” which we are planning to survey over the next several contributions to this essay series.

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