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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‘Seal the Cracks’ Warms Community

Warmth. We crave it during these shortest days of early winter. But it can be hard to come by in local homes that are drafty, poorly insulated, or running on inadequate heating systems. Thanks to Sustainable Tompkins’ supporters, occupants in 24 dwellings are now enjoying the warmth of cozy, efficient homes after receiving grant awards from the Finger Lakes Climate Fund.

And more warmth is on the way.  We just concluded our second fall ‘Seal the Cracks’ campaign — surpassing our goal of 500 tons of CO2 removed from our atmosphere via individuals, businesses, and organizations taking responsibility for the carbon emissions from their travel or building use.  As of the winter solstice, over $15,200 in carbon offsets equal to 608 tons CO2 have been made available for grant awards to lower-income households in 2017.

During this holiday season of good will and gatherings with loved ones, we can share the gift of climate resilience with others by offsetting CO2 emissions from holiday travel.  It’s quick, easy, and affordable at Read more…

Neighborhood Mini-grant Supports New Freeville Farmer’s Market

As Tompkins County’s local food scene continues to grow, an expanding variety of venues are making it more accessible to buyers and sellers alike.

After encountering a “pop-up” farmer’s’ market in Hawaii, Lea Elleseff grew interested in starting one in the parking lot of the Freeville Firehouse where she lives. Unlike other farmers’ markets, pop-ups allow vendors to choose when to attend and how large or small a quantity of products to sell, barter, or give away. This opens them up to gardeners and other very small-scale producers.

But creating the market would require a certified produce scale, along with a few pop-up tents, tables, and chairs for vendors unable to provide their own. In March 2015, Sustainable Tompkins awarded Lea a Neighborhood Mini-grant for buying this equipment.

Read more…

Your Support is Key!
Sustainable Tompkins has always been both pioneer and movement supporter. Our Signs of Sustainability Awards, Mini-Grants, and Climate Fund are all designed to support others and strengthen our movement. These established programs and systems have great value, but they take resources to maintain.

We operate with a narrow margin, relying on an equal share of grant awards and donations from our community.

Every gift, no matter the size, is a signal of support for our community movement and will make it possible to keep open the doors of our “home room” for local sustainability. Please make a gift of support today!  Donate online or mail your tax deductible contribution to Sustainable Tompkins, 309 N. Aurora St., Ithaca NY 14850.
Signs of Sustainability
Master Composters Work for Sustainability, Have Fun

Tompkins Weekly       1-16-17

By Ron Cunningham

My partner Kerra emailed me in January 2015, forwarding notice of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Master Composter training. We talked about it. I liked the idea. Learning something new is good. Sharing it with Kerra is better. The possibility of getting free training by earning back the deposit was appealing. Now looking back at 150-plus pertinent emails in my CCE folder makes me realize the extent of our involvement. And the involvement continues.

We composted prior to Master Composter training, yet the fine-tuning we received has enriched our practice. The volunteer hours have expanded our hearts and horizons. The subject is diverse and complex, with an underlying simplicity and wisdom: Convert waste into resources. We were expertly piloted through 10 weeks of 2-hour, weekday evening classes by the Program Manager Adam Michaelides. Guest speakers were featured. Field trips were taken. Friendships were struck.

Read more…

Tompkins County Makes Solar History

Tompkins Weekly     1-2-17

By Emma Hewitt

On October 18, Tompkins County made history by becoming home to the first official Shared Solar project in New York State. Announced by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority with support from the Governor’s office, it was a landmark moment not only for the state, but also for the numerous local families who now have access to decades of solar power benefits.

Shared solar, which is more commonly known as community solar, enables a group of local residents to purchase solar panels located at an offsite “solar farm.” In participating in these solar farms, residents receive credit on their individual monthly electric bills for the power their panels produce. This power can reduce or even eliminate their electricity costs.

Read more…

From Energy Nerd to Energy Navigator

Tompkins Weekly      12-26-16

By Karim Beers

Ronald Booker’s interest in energy efficiency and renewables is clear from his Ithaca home’s solar panels, passive solar room and wood stove that satisfies nearly all of his home’s heating needs. After taking these personal steps to reduce his energy use, “Booker,” as he is known to his friends, realized that there was an opportunity to share his expertise by helping others navigate the sometimes complicated process of evaluating energy choices. Through Get Your GreenBack Tompkins’ Energy Navigator program, Booker gained strategies and tools to help convey his passion and knowledge regarding energy conservation to others looking to take similar energy and money-saving steps.

Read more…

ST Blog

Older Posts

Fracking: What Are We FOR?
Sustainability is a Society of Systems Thinkers
Don’t Thank an Antifracktivist

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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…

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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