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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Help Us Give the Gift of Warmth and Clean Energy for Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is an opportunity for people around the world to come together to show support for the causes they care about. For Giving Tuesday 2021, we are raising funds for our Finger Lakes Climate Fund.

The Climate Fund directly benefits Finger Lakes residents by offsetting the carbon emissions from donors’ fossil fuel use through grants to low-income families, businesses, and organizations for energy efficiency projects such as insulation, air-sealing, and air-source heat pump installation. See our grant awardee profiles for examples of our grants helping many in our communities to save money and live more safely and comfortably while reducing their fossil fuel use.

This Giving Tuesday, we are raffling off a night of luxury camping at Firelight Camps in Ithaca, NY and an Eco-Cruise with Discover Cayuga Lake Boat Tours. For every offset worth $5 you will receive 1 entry– see our raffle on Instagram and Facebook @flxclimatefund.

Donate directly on our Climate Fund website or on Venmo @sustainable-tompkins.

Bike Repair Station Dedicated in Downtown Ithaca

We were glad to attend this great gathering on November 18th to dedicate the first bike repair station in downtown Ithaca – funded by our Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program!! Biking brings business to downtowns and providing this kind of infrastructure enables all sorts of residents to own and use their bikes regularly. Our team was glad to support this collaborative project of Downtown Ithaca Alliance, Go Ithaca, and BikeWalk Tompkins.

The repair stand is set up in the Press Bay Courtyard and comes with a great set of attached tools for any number of repairs to your bike. Alongside is a sturdy tire pump as well. Plus you can aim your phone at the QR code and pick among several videos that will provide you step by step instructions to make your particular bike repair.

If all goes well with this first one, the collaborative team behind this hopes to install several more at various points in the City.

Thanks to BikeWalk Tompkins, Downtown Ithaca Alliance, Go Ithaca, and the businesses down in Press Bay Court!

Carbon Offset Cruise This Wednesday! 10/6

You heard that right… the first EVER 🛳Carbon Offset Cruise🛳 is on the horizon!

Wednesday, October 6th @ 6 PM to be exact, which also just happens to be Energy Efficiency Day.

Join us as Discover Cayuga Lake celebrates the summer-long contributions cruise-goers have made to offset the carbon emissions of their trips – whether it be learning about lake algae, taking samples, or at Club Cayuga! ⛴🐟🎧

It’ll be a wonderful chance to learn more about the sustainability & climate justice movement right there in the Finger Lakes while on the water!

This is a FREE eco-tourism community cruise. All are welcome. No previous sustainability knowledge necessary – just come ready to learn and relax on the Teal.

The boat is docked at the end of Marina Drive, across from the Park Police building. Look for the big boat that says MV Teal. There is plenty of parking available. Oh, and don’t forget to BYOB. See you soon!

Sign up to secure your free spot.

Signs of Sustainability
Youth Farm Project Pushes for Social Justice

Tompkins Weekly.    11-23-21

By Katie Church

At the Youth Farm Project (YFP), November is all about tucking the farm into bed for the season: pulling drip tape from the fields, taking down the deer fencing, planting cover crops and mulching.

This fall has been long and warm, if wet. In the bedtime analogy, we have “stayed up a little late” for one more bit of fun. With the first dusting of snow, our minds and bodies are ready for the internal season that is winter in a four-season climate: dreaming.

YFP is a farm-based social justice education organization. The work is with people and land, and that means things are always changing. The winter months allow us to look back over the year, to process what went well, what went amazingly and what fell short, and to listen for what is being asked.

Read more…

Protecting Our Natural Resources

Tompkins Weekly    11-10-21

By Becca Harber

Forests and our effects on them are woven throughout our lives, often without our knowledge. Learning how our choices affect forests and making different decisions can contribute to better health and continued existence of forests worldwide.

Cumulative effects of numerous people making different choices contribute to lessening climate catastrophe in the long run. Examples include no longer buying any rainforest woods products, redwood or many of the numerous food items containing palm oil or having big bonfires.

Regarding wood products from rainforests, “supposed sustainable production of tropical timber is a fabrication of the industry,” according to Rainforest Rescue (, a national nonprofit dedicated to preserving rainforests. Tropical timber is in many items, like terraces, garden furniture, window frames and toilet seats.

Read more…

Gratitude for Hunting and Gathering

Tompkins Weekly      10-27-21

By Zak Kozlowski

Have you gathered any wild foods this month?

This October is often my favorite time of year. Like many folks around Tompkins County, I enjoy gathering and hunting wild foods from the local landscape. September through mid-October is usually when I do most of my foraging, processing and storing of wild edible plants. It is also the time of year that marks the start of hunting season.

Since starting to learn about and use wild plants in 2009, I have spent more time noticing and working with certain plants than others. Maybe I get excited by certain species of plants more, or maybe they were the ones trying to get my attention. Either way, I’ve noticed that I get motivated to spend time collecting and working with some of the fruits and nuts during this time of year.

Many of the wild food plants that I enjoy, I’ve noticed, also choose to live and share space with the human environment and can be found in both the city and countryside. They seem to benefit from a close relationship with humans, needing disturbed ground, fences and maintained edge habitats. Sometimes the line between what is wild and what is landscaped appears blurry or nonexistent.

Read more…

ST Blog

Older Posts

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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…