Nominate someone for the People’s Choice Signs of Sustainability Award!

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.

Voting is simple. Categories will be for sustainability-enhancing activities by a 1) Organization, 2) Business, 3) Individual 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.


Each year since 2006, Sustainable Tompkins has kept watch for “signs” of sustainable decision-making, practice and action emerging throughout our community. It started by chance at our annual holiday potluck dinner for people in the local social justice and sustainability movement. Board member Marian Brown put together a slideshow of some of the past year’s accomplishments as part of the evening’s entertainment and handed out certificates noting the contributions of 30 different organizations, businesses, and individuals. People loved it, and immediately started pointing out other contributions that weren’t in the slideshow.

Over the next 7 years, the annual Signs of Sustainability awards grew rapidly as Tompkins County ramped up hundreds of sustainability-minded projects and enterprises. In 2013, Sustainable Tompkins recognized 420 awardees at their exhibit and reception. All told, 1,617 awards were given out between 2006 and 2013. With Marian Brown’s departure from the Ithaca area last summer, Sustainable Tompkins is starting a new chapter for our community sustainability awards.

Sustainable Tompkins’ purpose in annually showcasing these community “signs of sustainability” is multifaceted: to demonstrate what is possible, to encourage the adoption of more sustainable practices, to make the public aware of sustainable enterprises to patronize, and to make you aware of sustainability-related programs and activities in which you can get involved.

What contributes to community sustainability? That’s up to the public to decide. But the term implies the long view, and a healthy balance among the many elements that make up our community. The Signs of Sustainability awards have always recognized that positive change will need to evolve in nearly all aspects our cultural and economic systems.

Photos from the December 2013 Celebration:

In Shik and Elan













 Award Archives

Signs of Sustainability 2012

Signs of Sustainability 2011.

Signs of Sustainability 2010

Signs of Sustainability 2009

Signs of Sustainability 2008

Signs of Sustainability 2007

Signs of Sustainability 2006