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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Earth Day Ithaca on Sunday, April 22!














Our local theme this year is Art & Sustainability, featuring local artists who help us frame, express and shape our concerns about climate change and living more sustainably. Join us from 12-3 for family-friendly hands-on activities with our exhibitors and local music. From 3-5 pm we’ll feature performances by Truth Speaker and other spoken word and musical artists followed by our annual Signs of Sustainability Awards.  April 22, 2018, The Space @ GreenStar, 700 W. Buffalo St.

12:00 – 3:00 pm: Exhibits and Hands-On Activities

Design a Climate Solutions Mural with Lachlan Chambliss

Textiles Workshop with Sarah Gotowka of Luna Fiber Studio

Transform/Sustain with performance artists James Leonard and Hector Canonge

Musical accompaniment with Travis Knapp, da Prof N Starr, Aria Tiphereth, and Rena Guinn.

3:00 – 4:30 pm: Spoken Word and Musical Performances

Artists and Social Change — Barbara Mink

‘Surge’ — a climate story by Denise O’Leary

Words of Wonder, Fear, and Hope — Sasha Paris

Remanu Steele

Youth Climate Challenge — Dr. Tim Harris

Truth Speaker (Voice of the Youth)

Joe Crookston

4:30 – 5:00 pm: People’s Choice 2018 Signs of Sustainability Awards

5:00-6:00 pm: One Heart Drum Circle


Polls Open for Annual Sustainability Awards

Since 2006, Sustainable Tompkins has been celebrating the individuals and groups in our county that are improving our present and safeguarding our future, enriching our lives and making us better human beings. Our 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. Polls are open again and it is time to head to the online voting booth to show your support for the people, the businesses, and the organizations that stepped up in the past year to make ours a more sustainable and just community.

Voting is simple. Just go to and fill in the information on your choice. You can vote up to five times for a mix of your favorite sustainability heroines and heroes. Polls will close on April 12.

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. Read more…

Call for Earth Day Artists and Exhibitors 
Sustainable Tompkins will be celebrating Earth Day this year on Sunday, April 22nd from Noon-6pm at the Space @ Greenstar, 700 W Buffalo St. in Ithaca.  The theme this year will be how the arts help us frame, express, and shape our concerns about climate change and the transition to more sustainable ways of human social and economic activity. Registration for exhibitors and performers at the 2018 Earth Day Ithaca event is now open.

Cathleen Banford writes “Artists are among the disciplined observers of our world. Artists see stories, perspectives, context, emotion, reaction, impacts, and subtle truths all around us. The art we create has the power to bring deeper understanding, hope, and direction to the lives of countless others.”

Do you have a song to share? A poem, a dance, a skit, a painting? Do you want to share what your organization is doing on behalf of a healthy planet? Exhibitors are welcome to table indoors from 12-3 while hands-on activities for families will be offered. The exhibitor fee to offset insurance and other costs is $25 for nonprofit groups. Registration fees for businesses and government entities are $45. (Reduced fees are available for those in need.) From 3-5, we’ll pause for performances by local artists and the annual Signs of Sustainability Awards (be sure to nominate your favorites at  

For more information or a registration form, please contact Joey by April 10 at or call (607) 644-5525. All are welcome.  Thanks to Beck Equipment for sponsoring our event!

Signs of Sustainability
Earth Day Ithaca 2018

Tompkins Weekly     4-9-18

By Joey Diana Gates

Earth Day Ithaca 2018 is happening on…Earth Day! This year we will be commemorating on Sunday, April 22 from noon to 6 p.m., again at the Space @ GreenStar, again hosted by Sustainable Tompkins. Our theme this year will be looking at how the arts frame, express and shape the environmental and now sustainability movement.

Through the distillations and recreations of our experiences, artists tell our stories and offer us a chance at new insight. We are blessed in this area to be surrounded by many artists with different perspectives on our relationship with the environment, who will be sharing their art and work with us as we celebrate our planet and home. We will be welcoming familiar faces we’ve come to know and love through the years, as well as several new ones through tabling and outreach, alongside artisans with eco-minded displays, hands-on activities and/or mini-workshops. We invite artists in the greater community to share their work at this year’s Earth Day event. This invitation is open to all ages, young and old alike. Sharing your artwork provides an opportunity to help inspire others to participate as we all take on challenges of pollution that are threatening our worlds healthy ecosystems and in turn our own well-being! Let’s change the world together.

Read more…

The Resilience of Stewart Park

Tompkins Weekly     3-12-18

By Diana Riesman

The fireworks in Stewart Park shall shine extra brightly on July 4, 2021, as that date marks the centennial of Ithaca’s main lakefront park becoming a public park. Stewart Park, a historic and iconic place, is open to one and all for free. No entrance fee or parking fee to enjoy this waterfront gem.

There will be much to celebrate in 2021 and Friends of Stewart Park (FSP), committed stewards of the park’s next 100 years, plan to involve everyone in the community in the festivities.

Since 2011, FSP has been leading park revitalization efforts in Stewart Park – known as Renwick Park until 1921 – as a nonprofit with a mission to improve, enhance and revitalize the park in partnership with the City of Ithaca. This public/private partnership has energized the process of breathing life back into the park through thoughtful renovation, restoration, and landscaping.

Read more…

Ithaca Families Gift Economy: Gifting, Reusing, and Being a Community

Tompkins Weekly      2-19-18

By Cassandra Kent

Ithaca Families Gift Economy is a Facebook group that has expressed community to the fullest- the characteristic of helping each other when times are rough. IFGE welcomes Ithaca residents & those in the surrounding area. Ithaca Family Gift Economy is more than just a group – it’s a family, that is about supporting each other with lots of love and supplies. It’s a group that helps people who have wants or needs or people who have goods to offer or want an opportunity to give a gift. Regularly gifted items include beds, toys, and clothes!

Not only does it help provide material goods to families, it brings area residents closer, making connections that may not otherwise be made.

Read more…

ST Blog

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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


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…