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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Community Solar & Sustainable Tompkins

Exciting news! We now have an opportunity to help you be part of the climate solution while keeping Sustainable Tompkins innovating and leading.With the help of our partner, Bullrock Solar, we’ve designed a Community Solar program that can bring clean solar power to your home AND provide ST with the financial support to keep us on the front lines of building a sustainable future.

When you sign up, you will be able to use solar-generated electricity throughout your home, without changing utilities or installing roof-top panels, and get an electricity price that is 10% below NYSEG’s rate. The unique feature of this program: you can choose to have Bullrock Solar donate your 10% savings from going solar to support ST, or have them reduce your own electric bill by the same amount.

Either way, you can shrink your carbon footprint and protect our environment, without panels on your roof or costs of any kind. Whether you own your home or rent, you can still participate. Plus, the solar farm is nearby in Chemung County, south of Montour Falls, on former cropland.


Sign up and make a difference. Solar has never been so convenient. We hope you will support us with your tax-deductible donation of your solar savings, but if you need the savings yourself – that’s fine – we just hope you’ll be part of the transition to Local Clean Energy!

Learn more at Sustainable Tompkins Community Solar.

 
Youth Climate Challenge Awardees at Ithaca Global Strike for Climate
Tilden Chao and Abigail Glickman inspire other students at the Ithaca Global Climate Strike on March 15 with their Keep It Cool Tompkins project funded by Sustainable Tompkins.

Abigail Glickman and Tilden Chao inspired a large crowd of local high school and college students at the Global Climate Strike on March 15 on the Ithaca Commons.

The students explained the importance of their ‘Keep It Cool: The Future of Refrigeration’ project funded by a Youth Climate Challenge grant of $990 to pursue their innovative and unique outreach and education program on containment and reduction of hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs) refrigerants. You can learn more about their project at KeepItCoolTompkins.org.

We hope to see more students follow their lead by applying for a Youth Climate Challenge grant. The next deadline is April 1 and applications can be obtained by emailing Gay@SustainableTompkins.org. Students can propose a wide variety of activities. Some might result in measurable decreases in CO2 emissions from their schools, homes, libraries, churches, or other buildings. Other projects might use the arts and other persuasive communication to increase awareness about climate impacts and inspire energy conservation measures. Youth groups must be based in Tompkins County and can be of any size, but must have at least one adult advisor.

 
Cornell Climate Change Seminar Well Received
Opening slide of presentation on Local Carbon Offsets for Energy Democracy

Gay Nicholson shared the story of our Finger Lakes Climate Fund to a large audience of students and faculty at Cornell on February 18. The seminar series “Perspectives on the Climate Change Challenge” mostly focuses on the issue from a global and national level, so our presentation on “Local Carbon Offsets for Energy Democracy” was very different for this audience.

Judging from the questions and follow-up surveys, students were glad to feel connected to ways to make a difference locally.

Read more…
 
Signs of Sustainability
Building Green for All

Tompkins Weekly 3-13-19

By Jean Rightmire

In an ideal world, housing should be producing energy rather than consuming it. Call it “green,” “energy conserving,” “energy efficient,” or “sustainable,” any home should be healthy, be easily maintained, cause little or no pollution, and be affordable for all families and individuals to attain. While this is far from the reality we live in currently, it’s never too late to start.

Even small steps can make a significant impact. Given that we each have a personal responsibility to be changemakers, locally, Habitat for Humanity of Tompkins and Cortland Counties (TCHabitat), is leading the way to build energy efficient, safe, healthy and energy sustainable homes for low- to moderate-income families.

Read more…
Purity is First Winner of HeatSmart Stewardship Award

Tompkins Weekly 2-27-19

By Jonathan Comstock

You already loved Purity Ice Cream, but now you can love them even more. When the owners of the iconic Ithaca institution renovated their shop, they decided to scoop out a little happiness for the planet, too. Today, Purity heats and cools its entire operation with high-efficiency ground source heat pumps, and it powers those pumps – not to mention its lights, machinery, and appliances – entirely with solar energy.

When we at Solar Tompkins considered nominees for our first HeatSmart Award for Outstanding Earth Stewardship, Purity was a natural choice.

For co-owner Bruce Lane, ground source (also known as geothermal) heat pumps were the perfect answer for a year-round business that consumes a considerable amount of energy. Not only have the heat pumps drastically reduced the company’s greenhouse gas emissions, but they have also made life more comfortable for customers and employees alike.

Read more…
Nuclear Arms and Climate Disruption: Two Inconvenient Truths

Tompkins Weekly 2-13-19

By Dr. Charles Geisler

At a time when major nuclear arms treaties are being orphaned and thick reports on climate disruption are accumulating like waves on a stormy beach, many are asking if there are connections between the two. The answer is an obvious and uncomfortable yes.

Consider ‘nuclear winter,’ the name given to the prolonged darkness believed by Carl Sagan and other senior scientists to arrive on the heels of nuclear war. Some or all of the planet will be darkened by the ash plumes of nuclear incineration. Photosynthesis will wane along with parts of the food chain, habitats we take for granted, and healthy ecosystem services we depend on. Our largest nuclear reactor, the sun, will be eclipsed by the effects of thermonuclear war on earth.

Read more…



ST Blog

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

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Help ST Finish What We Started on Dryden Pipeline

Everyday you are probably getting 2 or 3 calls to action to help stop some new outrage. It’s important to help wherever you can, but it’s also important that our movement follow through on earlier efforts to make positive change and head toward greater stewardship and justice in our communities. We’re asking our supporters to take a minute today and help us complete a critical step in our community’s shared commitment to protect the climate and stop new fossil fuel infrastructure from being built in our county.

Three years ago, in the early summer of 2014, we began to hear about a proposed new gas pipeline to run through West Dryden to provide heating fuel for new development in Lansing. The large capacity of the pipe would mean that Tompkins County would be unable to meet its goal of 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.

ST helped organize local opposition to the project and teamed up to present several workshops on viable alternatives to the pipeline to meet Lansing’s energy needs. A countywide task force on energy and economic development eventually came to the same conclusions and recommended to the Public Service Commission (PSC) that NYSEG address reliability concerns for existing Lansing gas customers by adding pressure boosters to the current pipeline. In addition, NYSEG would provide incentives to developers to build new structures in Lansing using smart design and ultra-efficient heat pumps to meet commercial and residential heating loads. (Many industrial processes can be powered with electricity rather than gas as well.) Read more…

 
Energy and Equity Go Hand in Hand

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

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…

 
Home Rule and the Greater Good

After 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. Read more…