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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Our Climate Programs Featured in Ithaca Times

“Sustainable Tompkins is moving the needle.”

With the passage of the Ithaca Green New Deal, people are realizing how much work lies ahead to reach its goal of carbon neutrality for the City of Ithaca by 2030.

Sustainable Tompkins’ work on energy and climate was featured in Ithaca Times in the June 20, 2019 issue “Real Climate Action: Sustainable Tompkins and others are working locally now.”

We salute everyone in our local movement for their combined efforts to reduce emissions and become more climate resilient. And we thank our carbon offsetters who make the Climate Fund possible!

 
Neighborhood Mini-Grant Brings Electric Scooter to Wonderful Wheelchairs
The scooter displayed at the Finger Lakes Independence Center. Photo by Sasha Paris.

Mobility aids such as wheelchairs and scooters give many people vital access to their communities, but new ones have high prices in money and natural resources. Wonderful Wheelchairs, an Ithaca-based organization, repairs, loans out, and sells donated mobility aids at low prices, improving equity of access to them and keeping used ones out of the waste stream. It allows its patrons to try out devices, determining what best suits their needs. In March 2018, Wonderful Wheelchairs received a Neighborhood Mini-Grant from Sustainable Tompkins to buy a motorized Pride Folding Go-Go Scooter – an item in high demand and not locally sold – for patrons to try out before deciding whether to buy one from a faraway vendor.

The scooter has been in use since May 2018, displayed and loaned out onsite at Wonderful Wheelchairs and at local social service venues and events such as the annual Senior Living Expo and the first annual Community Carnival at Stewart Park. Wonderful Wheelchairs will continue to spread the word about it, at these venues and beyond.

The Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program provides seed money to diverse initiatives to build environmental, economic, and social resilience and well-being in Tompkins County. The program is sponsored by the Park Foundation, Beck Equipment, Craig Riecke, Natural Investments, Fingerlakes Wealth Management, and local donors. We need your support so we can help more citizen leaders act on their values. Please donate today and help us support more wonderful citizen-driven projects to improve life in our community.

 
The Future of Refrigeration is Green

Congratulations to Tilden Chao and Abigail Glickman of Keep it Cool Tompkins! for their well attended summit on green refrigeration on May 23. Our Youth Climate Challenge awardees surpassed all expectations with their educational campaign. We are all in their debt for bringing greater awareness to this key part of the climate puzzle.

Their panel of speakers did a great job covering from the basics to the alarming predictions if we don’t get it together to cool our food and our buildings and our cars without exacerbating climate change and ozone depletion. A video of the presentations will be available shortly.

Ted Gartland [E. Gartland & Associates, LLC, HillPhoenix, GreenChill], Professor Jeff Tester [Cornell University Engineering], and Terry Carroll [Cornell Cooperative Extension] presented to an audience of about 40 climate activists, municipal reps, and businesses.

 
Signs of Sustainability
Smithsonian Exhibit Raises Water Awareness

Tompkins Weekly 8-14-19

By Patricia Haines Gooding

In our water-rich region, it is easy to forget that much of the world increasingly faces critical water shortages, threatening whole cultures as well as lives. It is well worth the short trip up to Aurora between Aug. 16 and Sept. 29 for a science-based, comprehensive, graphic reminder from the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street, as the Aurora Historical Society, Aurora Masonic Center and Wells College co-host the multi-media “Water/Ways” exhibit.

Here is evidence that good can still come out of Washington: Museum on Main Street is funded by the U.S. Congress. The Museum Association of New York chose Aurora to be one of only three NYS locales for this extraordinary, comprehensive program.

Read more…
Wherefore Art Thou, Sustainability?

Tompkins Weekly 7-24-19

By Thomas Shelley

We have heard of dire predictions for our planet if we, collectively, allow global warming to continue past 2030. The main thrust to prevent climate disaster is greenhouse gas reduction – methane, carbon dioxide, refrigerants. This generally turns into energy use reduction, specifically, cessation of the use of fossil fuels, methane being the worst of all and energy conservation in its many forms – buildings with lower energy requirements and the electrification of transportation, both powered by renewable energy instead of fossil fuels.

Much of what needs to be accomplished needs to be done via policy, funding and action at the international, state and corporate level.

However, we are a global civilization made up of individuals and the decisions we make in our personal lives affect our sum outcome. So, what is the individual to do in what often seems like the face overwhelming odds?

Read more…
Why We Need to Get the Lead Out

Tompkins Weekly 7-10-19

By Thomas Shelley

Lead in our environment remains a major source of damaging contamination for people and wildlife. Deposition of lead into the environment is a danger to the health, safety and general welfare of our communities.

The effects of lead on living things have been noted and studied for hundreds of years. Prolonged or repeated exposure to low levels of lead may result in an accumulation in body tissues and exert adverse effects on the blood, nervous systems, heart, endocrine and immune systems, kidneys and reproduction.

Read mre



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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…