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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Neighborhood Mini-Grant Applications Due April 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 spring/summer 2021 round of Neighborhood Mini-Grants.

The Sustainable Tompkins Neighborhood Mini-Grant program supports initiatives improving environmental sustainability, equity, and environmental, economic, and social justice in Tompkins County. Since it began in 2008, it has awarded more than $77,000 in 196 grants to innovative grassroots projects throughout the county.

Grants range from $150 to $750 and support initiatives promoting 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 biannually 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. Priority is given to new and/or small entities with relatively few sources of support.

 Successful initiatives supported by Neighborhood Mini-Grants in recent years include the founding of the Freeville Farmers Market, establishment of the Finger Lakes Toy Library as a lending collection of environmentally-friendly toys, 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, and restoration of a disused and overgrown trail in Dryden.

Applications must be received on or before April 1, 2021. To request an application form, or if you have questions, please call (607) 272-1720 or email sasha@sustainabletompkins.org.

 
FLECA Campaign Expands Its Ranks

The tides are rising here in the Finger Lakes (in a good way… not the climate-change-kind-of-way)!  A new cohort of members have joined our Finger Lakes Enterprises for Climate Action coalition (FLECA)! Our team is ever-growing and building so much momentum with new team members from bookstores, glamping sites, farms and more! 

We have achieved over ⅓ of our goal, a huge checkpoint! We’re getting closer to offsetting $5,000 worth of emissions, securing two Climate Fund grants for families in need.

We are so enthused to welcome new FLECA business and organization members: Firelight Camps, Dailey Electric, Food Forest Farm, Leslie Danks Burke campaign, and Odyssey Bookstore. New members are offsetting emissions from the likes of campaign travel and the energy to heat and cool their businesses. And one of them has plans to keep the fire going – stayed tuned to find out!

Does your organization want to help Finger Lakes families stay warm this winter? Email marisa@sustainabletompkins.org for more information, including benefits of joining

 
Sustainability Calendar Available

February is here! Fend off the winter blues with some movement-building activities. But not to worry; most of these activities are virtual, meaning you can stay cozy and safe while learning, growing, and helping your community. Join the White Fragility book club that meets every Sunday, or attend the Envision Climate Summit – a 3 day event comprised of talks, panels, & workshops. Maybe even learn a new skill, like Woodland Mushroom Cultivation! Visit the Sustainable Finger Lakes Calendar to browse this month’s offerings and click the link under each event for more details.

 
Signs of Sustainability
New Volunteer Program: Climate Stewards

Tompkins Weekly 2-24-21

By Margaret Royall

This March, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County (CCE-Tompkins) will begin recruiting for the Climate Stewards volunteer training program. Application materials will be available in March on the CCE-Tompkins website at http://ccetompkins.org/environment/climate-stewards-volunteers.

Climate Stewards builds upon the successful models of CCE’s existing Master Gardener and Master Composter volunteer programs. In each of these models, individuals who volunteer are trained in the details of specific subject matter and, in turn, share their knowledge with the community by leading workshops and discussion groups, sharing materials and information at community events and other creative outreach efforts of their choosing.

Climate Stewards will have the additional opportunity to use what they have learned to help drive change in our local government.

Read more…
Project Documents Sustainable Farming

Tompkins Weekly 2-10-21

By Graham Savio

Agriculture is a relatively minor contributor toward greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, accounting for 9.9% of total U.S. emissions in 2018 according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Meanwhile, the sector has substantial capacity to contribute toward climate change mitigation efforts by offsetting emissions from other sectors as well as taking steps to further limit existing emissions from farming.

Conservation and sustainable land management practices can reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide associated with crop and livestock production and can increase the quantity of carbon stored in soils and above-ground vegetation.

Agriculture educators at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County (CCE-Tompkins) work closely with farmers across the county who have adopted sustainable farming practices to reduce nutrient runoff, improve soil health and lower on-farm energy use, but a broad understanding of the extent of those practices has been limited.

Read more…
Composting for Food, Economic Security

Tompkins Weekly 1-27-21

By Adam Michaelides

With temperatures hovering around freezing and the ground blanketed with snow, it is hard to remember the lush green of spring, the heat of summer and the bounty of fall. However, they are coming. The days are growing longer and lighter, and before we know it, warm days will return.

Last weekend for kicks, I stuck a long-stemmed, compost thermometer in my bin and found that it was at 60 degrees! Even with no visible growth in the yard and daytime temperatures in the 30s, my compost continues to actively work away. Hopefully by spring, the compost in my bin will be mature enough to use in the garden.

Composting and gardening go together — each activity supports the other.

Read more…



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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…

 
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…