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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It’s Time to Seal the Cracks Again!

It is that time of year again – every fall and winter we ask you to help us Seal the Cracks in homes across the Finger Lakes Region, doing our part in fighting climate change while helping others in need.

Working together we are making a difference across our region. For every ton of your CO2 emissions that you offset, we will help a lower-income family make their home more energy efficient and take that ton of CO2 back out of the atmosphere. We’ve now given out 29 grants worth $47,283 to offset 2,288 tons of CO2 from our donors’ travel and building emissions. We recently passed the Three Million mark for pounds of CO2 removed from the atmosphere!

It is super easy: go to FingerLakesClimateFund.org and start thinking back over the past year… where did you travel and have you taken responsibility for the carbon emissions from your trips? How about your business or your home? (You can reach zero carbon by offsetting the remaining fossil fuel use in your buildings.) Read more…

 
Our ‘Keep It Cool Tompkins’ Team to Present Findings

Last spring we awarded our first Youth Climate Challenge Grant to Tilden Chao and Abigail Glickman for their ‘Keep It Cool Tompkins‘ project to educate local businesses about the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase out high global warming potential refrigerants. This amazing duo is doing upperclass college level work, and our team of climate professionals and teachers are immensely impressed by their vision, intelligence, and initiative.

Tilden and Abigail will be presenting their findings thus far to the monthly Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative next Friday, December 14, at 9 am at the county library.  TCCPI hosts a monthly meeting for local energy professionals and nonprofit groups addressing climate change and the transition to clean energy.  They’ll be sharing their plans for a ‘green chill’ summit for regional businesses later this winter.
 
Neighborhood Mini-Grant Application Deadline December 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 winter round of Neighborhood Mini-Grants. Applications are due December 1.

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

 
Signs of Sustainability
Heat Locally to Benefit Yourself, Your Community, and the Planet

Tompkins Weekly           12-10-18

By Guillermo Metz

Do you know where your home’s heat comes from? Most of us burn something — usually, gas, oil, or propane — but most of us are blissfully unaware of where that fuel comes from. Many people are becoming more aware of where their food comes from — from the lettuce we grow in our yards to the local beef we buy. The benefits of “eating local” are well-known, but few of us are aware of all the benefits of “heating local” with wood.*

Many of the benefits are the same: supporting local businesspeople and the environment, reducing transportation miles, and creating a connection between consumers and “farmers” (in this case, forest owners and loggers). While responsible farming practices minimize environmental damage, responsible forestry goes a step further by providing many other environmental benefits, including actually improving forest health. Not only do foresters manage stands by clearing out low-quality trees that are shading healthier and more valuable trees, but by doing so, along with other good forestry practices, responsible forestry can lead to improved biodiversity, help control invasive and non-native species, and result in greater carbon capture by allowing younger trees to develop.

Read more…

Lack of Regulation Leads to Courthouse Showdown

Tompkins Weekly    11-12-18

By Cayuga Lake Environmental Action Now

Cayuga Lake is at risk. Our beloved lake provides drinking water for over 40,000 people residing in at least six municipalities, not to mention the numerous private wells along the entire shoreline. However, the quality of Cayuga’s waters is threatened by nutrient-loading manure from large farms, Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), contaminants leaching from several coal-ash landfills, salt from our heavily salted roads, and brine from an extensive under-lake salt mine with its associated permitted and unpermitted discharges to the lake.

What can we do to protect this invaluable resource?

One major step is to ensure that environmental protocols are being followed and when they are not, we must STAND UP FOR CAYUGA LAKE. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is supposed to be the watchdog that ensures that our resources are being protected, but the DEC is severely understaffed, under-budgeted, and lacks expertise in some areas. Most importantly, the DEC has never required the level of environmental review for the Cargill mine that would be required for equivalent or much smaller projects.

Read more…

Uh Oh, Here Comes Winter

Tompkins Weekly 10-22-18

By Anne Rhodes

Winter – the season that challenges us to heat our homes without heating our planet. Everyone wants to stay warm and comfortable in their home, and luckily there are lots of strategies and solutions to help us do just that – including some that won’t add to our climate woes.

What’s preventing us from being warm in our homes? Conduction and convection. If a house is cold and drafty it is because heat is escaping through uninsulated walls and attics (conduction), and through holes and gaps that let air in (convection). The process of warm air escaping from the interior of your house to the outside is called the “stack effect.” It’s what happens when you heat the interior of your home but that heated air escapes upwards (because hot air rises!) causing a vacuum drawing cold air in from cracks and gaps in your basement. Then you heat up that new, cold air, and when it’s hot, it rises and escapes!

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

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…