Signs of Sustainability

We have a long way to go, but we're making progress. Here are some signs that we are moving towards sustainability.

January 16, 2019

Fiber Artists Inspired by Cayuga Lake Watershed

Tompkins Weekly 1-16-19

By Patricia Haines Gooding

For generations, quilts have embodied creativity, heritage, and community. Over the last decade, watershed groups across the country have begun turning to the art of quilting to spark public awareness of the increasingly critical importance of protecting our precious water resources.

For a few examples:
• In 2006 in Aux Sable, Illinois children designed a large quilt expressing their pride in their local environment. 
• A 50-foot quilt of the Farmington River, created by local and national artists, hangs in the Connecticut State Capitol. 
• Encouraged by the Lynnhaven Watershed organization, in 2014 Virginia Beach first graders created a 48 square painted quilt as part of their sustainability studies. Now in fifth grade, they promote watershed stewardship for current first graders. 
• Trout Unlimited, which has Trout in the Classroom programs across the country — including all around our lake, thanks to the Floating Classroom — invites k-12 students to send 8-inch by 8-inch squares, along with a letter describing their watershed, to all participating schools, which then put them together in their own unique designs.

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December 26, 2018

Community Decision Making: Voice

Tompkins Weekly     12-24-18

By Cathleen Banford

In September, I attended the “Local Economic Development Conference,” organized by Veronica Johnson and the Civil Advocacy Project. Guest speaker Bruce Seifer, with the support of Bernie Sanders, began the work of promoting progressive entrepreneurship in Burlington, VT. Small businesses grew in the wake of Seifer’s advocacy. I’m very grateful for the conference as it helped me think more clearly about individuals as community, engaging their voice with purpose.

As I observe how organizations and governance function here in Ithaca, to better understand how relatable their activities are to most people, it becomes apparent that our community is ready for more participatory models on all fronts. Many recognize that it’s often the same group of people driving change. How do we encourage more inclusivity and inspired participation with our collaborative community building efforts?

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December 17, 2018

It’s Time to “Seal the Cracks” Again!

Tompkins Weekly       12-17-18

By Gay Nicholson

It is that time of year again – every fall and winter we ask you to help us Seal the Cracks in homes across the Finger Lakes Region, doing our part in fighting climate change while helping others in need.

Working together, we are making a difference across our region. For every ton of your CO2 emissions that you offset, we will help a lower-income family make their home more energy efficient and take that ton of CO2 back out of the atmosphere. We’ve now given out 29 grants worth $47,738 to offset 2,286 tons of CO2 from our donors’ travel and building emissions. We recently passed the Five Million mark for pounds of CO2 removed from the atmosphere and look forward to awarding more of our Fund in local grants.

It is super easy: go to and start thinking back over the past year… where did you travel and have you taken responsibility for the carbon emissions from your trips? How about your business or your home? (You can reach zero carbon by offsetting the remaining fossil fuel use in your buildings.)

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