People across the Finger Lakes Region are deeply concerned about the prospect of extensive drilling for natural gas in the vast Marcellus Shale deposit. The use of hydrofracking technology to force out the gas brings with it significant threats to the health and well being of our entire community. With close to 40% of the land in Tompkins County leased for gas drilling, we are likely to see severe impacts from this extractive industry.

That’s why Sustainable Tompkins has joined the call for a statewide ban on hydrofracking until all concerns and all costs are competently addressed by the drilling industry and the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation. However, we strongly believe that we must be willing to take a systems approach to the issue of natural gas drilling. If we want to reduce the supply of gas flowing from the Marcellus, then we have to prove that we are also willing to take the time, and make the investments, to decrease our demand for natural gas and fossil fuels.

If we don’t reduce our personal consumption of natural gas, then those who accuse us of hypocrisy and NIMBYism will have an easy target. Sustainable Tompkins believes that most of the folks showing concern about gas drilling are also interested in living more sustainably – but how do we prove it? How can we demonstrate that we “walk our talk” when it comes to opposing drilling for natural gas.

Thus, Sustainable Tompkins decided to build a platform to help us document our commitment to living sustainably here in the Finger Lakes without harming the home landscapes of other regions. We invite you to accept the Finger Lakes Energy Challenge.

We’re asking you to make a pledge to reduce your consumption of natural gas and other fossil fuels. If you’ve already taken steps to reduce your fossil fuel consumption – thank you! ¬†You can pick among a variety of actions you can take to reduce your fossil fuel consumption for heating, electricity, hot water, transportation, and food choices.

Together we can prove that we are ready now to move to a sustainable economy based on renewable energy and highly efficient, low consumption lifestyles. Together we can say no to destructive extractive industries… and say yes to green jobs, responsible lifestyles, and wise stewardship of our land and water.