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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People’s Climate March and Earth Day Ithaca Attract Large Crowds


We had a truly great day on April 29! After weeks of planning with our partners, Sustainable Tompkins hosted our local March for Climate, Jobs and Justice in conjunction with our annual Earth Day Ithaca events.  More than 700 gathered on the Commons for our opening rally with music by Burns & Kristy, followed by inspirational remarks by Assemblywoman Lifton, Nick Goldsmith from the City of Ithaca, Deborah Cipolla-Dennis from Town of Dryden and Irene Weiser from Fossil Free Tompkins on the critical importance of citizen engagement on climate policy at all levels of government.

The NACL street theater troupe from Sullivan County reminded us just what the Trump administration has in mind for the environment, and then the Fall Creek Brass Band led our long and joyous procession of young and old bearing signs and banners for the one-mile march to the Space where we held our second rally on taking action for the climate – and grabbing lunch from a solar-powered, wood-fired pizza truck and a bicycle-driven food cart full of delicious Latin American cuisine. Read more…

March for Climate, Jobs, and Justice


Join us for our Ithaca Earth Day event centered around the national March for Climate, Jobs and Justice in Washington DC on Saturday April 29. We’re hoping for at least 1,000 marchers in Ithaca to visibly show our concern for the rapid deterioration of the planet, as well as the need for local and statewide leadership on energy democracy, green jobs, and environmental justice.

We’re asking marchers to gather at the Bernie Milton Pavilion on the Ithaca Commons at 11:30 AM for live music and speakers. At 12:15, the march will proceed on a marked route to the Space @ GreenStar, to enjoy more music, food vendors, speakers, and exhibits framed around the themes of Keep it in the Ground, Clean Energy, and Low Carbon Living.

How you can help:

  1. Spread the word. Talk to your neighbors, schools, clubs, and organizations about the importance of having a voice in what is happening to the earth as a result of climate change.
  2. Make signs. We will be hosting sign-making events in the days leading up to the march, and we invite each of you to make a sign that reflects your values.
  3. Volunteer to be a route marshall, be on the set-up and clean-up teams etc.
  4. Bring your friends, family, and co-workers to the march!

Specials thanks to Beck Equipment for being a major sponsor of the Earth Day events, and to NP Environmental, Snug Planet, Halco, Twin Tier Solar & Wind, and SewGreen for being march sponsors. Thank you to musicians Burns & Kristie for opening our Rally with their performances.  Thanks also to Taitem Engineering for sponsoring the Fall Creek Brass Band to lead us from the Rally on the Commons to the Rally at the Space. Gratitude to The Sustainability Center for sponsoring our 2017 Signs of Sustainability Awards!

Here’s a schedule of the day’s events: Read more…

Polls are Open for 2017 ‘Signs of Sustainability’ Awards

VOTE HERE!  Now more than ever, it is time to make your voice heard, reaffirm our values, and connect with fellow activists.  The People’s Choice Signs of Sustainability Awards are selected through an online poll of community members who nominate those they believe made a contribution in the past year.

Voting is simple.  You can head to the online voting booth at  to show your support for the people that stepped up in the past year to make ours a more sustainable and socially just community.  You can vote up to 5 times for a mix of your favorite sustainability heroines/heroes. Polls will close on April 21.  Nominations can be made in four categories (Individual, Youth, Organization, Business) and voters are asked to note which sectors were impacted and to provide contact information for their nominee.

Nominees and the top vote getters will be announced at the annual Earth Day Ithaca Celebration on Saturday, April 29, 4:00 to 4:30 pm, at The Space. Thanks to sponsorship by Beck Equipment, our Earth Day 2017 program will include a Rally and March for Climate, Jobs & Justice, workshops, music, food and lots of camaraderie.

Signs of Sustainability
Sustainable Gardening in Ithaca

Tompkins Weekly     5-22-17

By Ron Liso

“There are only two things that money can’t buy – true love and home-grown tomatoes.”

This quote from one of the gardeners at the Ithaca Community Gardens sums up well what the Gardens are all about. Run by Project Growing Hope, the Ithaca Community Gardens is a potpourri of seasoned Ithacans, newly arrived immigrants, students, retirees, families and children. Gardeners all learn from one another as we share tools, seeds, and advice while admiring each other’s little Edens. It’s a place where the values of cooperation and community are practiced every day.

Read more…

Earth Day 2017

Tompkins Weekly       4-24-17

By Joey Diana Gates

Every spring is different and unfolds in its own time and in its own way. It is the time when the cold and the warmth engage in a tug of war for ruling the weather. Much like the political climate we are currently living in, where the struggles to control and save our social safety nets play out in heated debate. In times such as this, movements like the environmental one grow and swell in ranks as many are shaken out of complacency and propelled into the streets to safeguard our ecosystems and climate. It is in this vein that we, nationally and as a community here, observe and celebrate Earth Day this year.

On the traditional Earth Day of Saturday, April 22, many events are happening throughout the community, while the National Earth Day Network hosts the March for Science in Washington, D.C. Locally, the following weekend, on Saturday, April 29, under the sponsorship of Sustainable Tompkins, we will have a day full of events to help us find our voices, lift them up and join the chorus in pursuit of a more sustainable life through policy change and action. Ithaca’s March for Climate, Jobs and Justice will be one of 250 across the U.S. in association with the People’s Climate Movement.

Read more…

Get Down to Earth with Master Composters

Tompkins Weekly        4-10-17

By Lisbet Rattenborg and Shweta Dharlwal

With the help of worms, leaves, microscopic organisms and a little care, anyone can learn to turn food scraps and lawn waste into high quality garden soil.

That’s the guiding philosophy behind this year’s Compost Fair, presented by Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Master Composters. While 3,400 rubber ducks bob down the Cascadilla Gorge Trail as part of the 4-H Duck Race, an equal quantity of compost worms will be wiggling around waiting to be adopted by members of the public at this year’s Compost Fair. Worm bins, Earth Machines, DIY compost bins, and Japanese bokashi fermentation are just a few of the compost techniques that will be demonstrated at Cooperative Extension from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 23. The fair will be largely organized by Master Composter volunteers, people from all backgrounds who are committed to building community composting skills.

Read more…

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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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