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.

February 13, 2017

New Roots Education Grounded in Sustainable Thought

Tompkins Weekly     2-13-17

By Tina Nilsen-Hodges

A horticulture major and women’s rugby team player on the Dean’s List at Cornell. A female diesel mechanic. An Evergreen College student and future teacher studying child labor laws in Nepal. A photographer who shoots equestrian sports. An inspired local cook with a passion for farm-to-table food. A computer scientist who chose a small college with an innovative, project-based curriculum. An award-winning barista who aspires to run her own shop. A student at the nation’s top entrepreneurial college invited to direct a play by the college’s theater department. A doctoral student in Earth Systems Science studying mathematical modeling and climate change. A horse trainer with a BA in Animal Science. A slam poet on scholarship studying sociology.

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February 7, 2017

Signs of Sustainability: Systems Thinking – The Historical Background

Tompkins Weekly 1-30-17

By Richard W. Franke

A previous Steps to Sustainability piece (which appeared in the the November 21-27, 2016, issue of Tompkins Weekly) focused on “tipping points.”

A tipping point can be thought of as something that happens within or to a system. Among sustainability advocates and activists, “systems thinking” has become the norm. In her widely used introductory book, “Thinking in Systems: A Primer,” Donella H. Meadows defines a system as “an interconnected set of elements that is coherently organized in a way that achieves something.”

Beyond this basic definition, systems have numerous properties that merit the attention of all who are interested in sustainability. Meadows was one of the primary authors of the famous 1972 MIT study on Limits to Growth. Read more…

January 16, 2017

Master Composters Work for Sustainability, Have Fun

Tompkins Weekly       1-16-17

By Ron Cunningham

My partner Kerra emailed me in January 2015, forwarding notice of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Master Composter training. We talked about it. I liked the idea. Learning something new is good. Sharing it with Kerra is better. The possibility of getting free training by earning back the deposit was appealing. Now looking back at 150-plus pertinent emails in my CCE folder makes me realize the extent of our involvement. And the involvement continues.

We composted prior to Master Composter training, yet the fine-tuning we received has enriched our practice. The volunteer hours have expanded our hearts and horizons. The subject is diverse and complex, with an underlying simplicity and wisdom: Convert waste into resources. We were expertly piloted through 10 weeks of 2-hour, weekday evening classes by the Program Manager Adam Michaelides. Guest speakers were featured. Field trips were taken. Friendships were struck.

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