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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Buy some java and support Sustainable Tompkins!

Do you brew your own? Check out Rally at Gimme! – for each bag sold they will donate $1 to Sustainable Tompkins this fall. You can get your buzz on while helping us in our climate work!

#climatechangeis real! Gimme coffee is partnering with us this fall to raise funds for climate protection. They’ve been focusing on supporting climate programs of local nonprofits. Check it out today!

This fairly traded organic blend is mild and smooth, with a comforting milk chocolate base. Crowd-pleasing flavor makes this the perfect blend to kickstart any rally.

Shade-Grown: Yes
Certifications: Organic, fairly traded

Since 2017, Rally has raised over $8,500 for nonprofit organizations.

Climate Fund featured nationally on radio!

Last summer, Gay Nicholson was interviewed by Yale Climate Connections about our regional carbon offset fund – the Finger Lakes Climate Fund. The radio spot started playing on October 10 on 500 stations across the country. Give it a listen!

Here’s a link to an interactive map at their website showing many of the locations. The radio program is also available through iTunes, Stitcher, and iHeartRadio … and all stories are accessible via their website beyond air dates.

Neighborhood Mini-Grant Applications Due October 1

Do you have an idea for a project to make our community more sustainable, resilient, or inclusive? Need a little help in covering the costs? Sustainable Tompkins is accepting applications for our fall/winter round of Neighborhood Mini-Grants.

The Sustainable Tompkins Neighborhood Mini-Grant program provides support for initiatives promoting environmental sustainability, equity, and environmental, economic, and social justice in Tompkins County. 

Grants range from $150 to $750 and have been awarded to diverse entities for locally-based initiatives sustainable food systems, alternative transportation, waste reduction/reuse, energy conservation/fossil fuel use reduction, and environmental education, and addressing social and economic inequality. Proposals are reviewed quarterly by a team of community members. The program is sponsored by the Park Foundation, Beck Equipment, Natural Investments, Fingerlakes Wealth Management, Craig Riecke, and local donors.

Individuals, organizations, and neighborhood groups are welcome to apply, as are local microbusinesses seeking to green their operations or extend their products or services to low-income clientele. 

Successful initiatives supported by Neighborhood Mini-Grants in recent years include founding of the Freeville Farmers Market, establishment of the Finger Lakes Toy Library as a lending collection of environmentally-friendly toys, distribution of the Paleontological Research Institution’s Teacher-Friendly™ Guide to Climate Change to all public high school science teachers in Tompkins County, and creation of an Ithaca Murals equipment lending library for artists and community members creating murals that reflect the demographics, values, and stories of Ithaca’s residents.

Applications must be received on or before October 1, 2019. To request an application form, or if you have questions, please contact

Signs of Sustainability
What is the Greenest Building?

Tompkins Weekly 10-9-19

By Pat Longoria

When asked to envision the greenest building, the image that most likely comes to mind is a sleek new structure with solar panels and energy-efficient windows, heating and cooling systems and lighting.

Think again. Picture instead a sturdy, old, brick schoolhouse converted into apartments with original, tall windows that let in natural light and high ceilings that encourage air flow or a renovated older farmhouse whose old-growth timbers and wide-plank floors are more durable than wood used in new construction.

Both of these buildings represent significant embodied energy. Embodied energy is all the energy that was originally consumed to produce, transport, and bring together the materials to make a building.

Read more…
Kitchen Theatre Implements Green Practices

Tompkins Weekly 9-25-05

By M. Bevin O’Gara

Theatre by its nature is the least green of all art forms: shows are built, they open to the public, and they close only a few short weeks later. Without a lot of time, staff and bandwidth, much of the material that make theatrical design magical ends up in dumpsters.

The Kitchen Theatre Company (KTC) has long been committed to producing high-quality productions while trying to maintain as green a footprint as possible, including the building of our LEED-certified green facility in Ithaca’s West End. And last season, we took a major step in making our methods more efficient and sustainable in terms of production elements by adopting and enacting a new Green Initiative.

Read more…
Caroline Project Distributes LEDs

Tompkins Weekly 9-11-19

By Emily Adams

On Saturday, Oct. 5, volunteers with the Brighten Up Caroline project will begin distributing more than 10,000 LED light bulbs to Caroline residents. Their goal? To help Caroline residents use roughly one million fewer kilowatts of electricity and save roughly $125,000 per year, starting immediately!

How is this possible? Every 9W LED light bulb that replaces an old-fashioned 60W incandescent bulb will save 765 to 1,224 kilowatts of energy over the 13-to-22-year lifetime of that new bulb. At today’s electricity rates, that is more than $100 in savings per bulb. If a resident replaces 12 incandescent bulbs that are lit for three or more hours each day, that household will save more than $80 per year. And if volunteers can reach all 1,550 households in Caroline, that adds up to big savings, for residents and the planet as well.

Read more…

ST Blog

Older Posts

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


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…