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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We More Than Doubled our Goal for the Climate Fund!

Thank you to the 54 donors who helped us race past our goal of raising $2500 for the Finger Lakes Climate Fund in May in our ‘Climate Justice in the Time of Corona” campaign! Besides the $4,121 we raised on GiveGab, two other donors sent us $1,679 via our Climate Fund website, and checks totaling $1,000 came in for a grand total of $6,800!! We are all just delighted to be able to refill the Fund, and this will probably be enough to do 3-4 more projects in the homes of lower-income residents. THANKS to all of you bringing heat pumps and clean energy to everyone in our community!

 
Join Us at the Debate!

We are co-sponsoring the Assembly District 125 Environmental Candidate Forum with New York League of Conservation Voters on May 28th at 5:30 pm via Zoom! We’ve got a line-up of questions for them on the most pressing regional sustainability issues. Register today to reserve your spot and receive your Zoom credentials to get into the event: bit.ly/AD125Forum

 
We’re Doing SO Good! Let’s Not Lose Momentum!

Just as we were entering the covid-19 shutdown, our Finger Lakes Climate Fund had reached a wonderful goal: our 50th local carbon offset grant – this time to a family in Trumansburg. With this award – thanks to all of our offsetters! – we have collectively kept 4,300 tons of CO2 from our atmosphere by helping local families with more than $80,000 in Climate Fund grants to help make their homes more energy efficient and ready to run on renewable energy.
 
Recently we signed 3 more checks for almost $12,000 that will help single mothers in Newfield, Hector, and Groton convert from polluting fuel oil, firewood, and propane to clean and efficient heat pumps – lowering their energy bills and improving the health of asthmatic family members.
 
Of course, we are all on PAUSE right now. Our friends at Snug Planet and Halco won’t be able to do these projects and others in our pipeline until they are allowed to work again in people’s homes. But we wanted to reach out and share some of the stories of the people you’ve helped by taking responsibility for your carbon emissions and offsetting with our Climate Fund. (Thanks again offsetters!)
 
Through our partnership with HeatSmart Tompkins and NYSERDA, we’ve been able to combine additional incentives for heat pumps for lower-income households with our Climate Fund grants. Since we started last fall, we’ve given away $38,633 from our Climate Fund plus $43,000 from our special heat pump fund to 24 households in 5 counties. 
 

Read more…
 
Signs of Sustainability
Water’s Power in Forwarding Sustainability Efforts

Tompkins Weekly 7-22-20

By Tony Del Plato

The Finger Lakes region has been inhabited by peoples for at least 12 millennia, most recently by the five (then six) nations of the Haudenosaunee, followed by immigrants, mostly from Europe.

The culture and technologies of feeding them determined the sustainability of their communities. An understanding of the laws of nature defined their boundaries. The Mohawk Water Song is an expression of love for ohne:ka (water), sung by the Akwesasne Women Singers today.

This essay contains snapshots of sustainability from my point of view, in the areas I frequent. The 11 lakes in the region are beautifully laid out, as if a bear claw raked the landscape from the Southern Tier up towards Lake Ontario. Each lake has a variety of challenges to its well-being. It is a costly and long process to restore the health of lakes that have been damaged.

Read more…
Food Farming, Water for Sustainability

Tompkins Weekly 7-15-20

By Tony Del Plato and Brian Caldwell

The Haudenosaunee have occupied and farmed the Finger Lakes region for over 2000 years. The Three Sisters (corn, beans and squash) were part of their cultural and agricultural foundation.

Corn, maize, is recognized as a gift from indigenous America to the world. About 60% of the foods we eat originated in the Americas, including corn, beans, potatoes, amaranth, tomatoes, squash, peppers, chocolate, sunflowers and more.

Much could have been learned from the food production systems that existed in the Western Hemisphere before colonization. Effective, productive methods were in place including complex polycultures, chinampas water gardens, desert farming and the use of fire to manage large areas for tree mast, berries and wild game.

Read more…
Community Gardens Shows Sustainability in Action

Tompkins Weekly 6-17-20

By Marty Hiller

Sustainability has two main components: planning for the future and resilience in times of crisis. The recent history of the Ithaca Community Gardens demonstrates both.

Our all-volunteer organization manages Ithaca’s largest and oldest community garden, on 2.1 acres of city-owned land in the heart of the Market District. We provide growing space to more than 150 mainly low-income households and community groups each year.

Plot fees are waived for our lowest-income gardeners, and we donate more than 700 pounds of produce a year through the Friendship Donations Network (FDN.)

Read more…



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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…