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.

November 12, 2018

Lack of Regulation Leads to Courthouse Showdown

Tompkins Weekly    11-12-18

By Cayuga Lake Environmental Action Now

Cayuga Lake is at risk. Our beloved lake provides drinking water for over 40,000 people residing in at least six municipalities, not to mention the numerous private wells along the entire shoreline. However, the quality of Cayuga’s waters is threatened by nutrient-loading manure from large farms, Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), contaminants leaching from several coal-ash landfills, salt from our heavily salted roads, and brine from an extensive under-lake salt mine with its associated permitted and unpermitted discharges to the lake.

What can we do to protect this invaluable resource?

One major step is to ensure that environmental protocols are being followed and when they are not, we must STAND UP FOR CAYUGA LAKE. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is supposed to be the watchdog that ensures that our resources are being protected, but the DEC is severely understaffed, under-budgeted, and lacks expertise in some areas. Most importantly, the DEC has never required the level of environmental review for the Cargill mine that would be required for equivalent or much smaller projects.

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October 22, 2018

Uh Oh, Here Comes Winter

Tompkins Weekly 10-22-18

By Anne Rhodes

Winter – the season that challenges us to heat our homes without heating our planet. Everyone wants to stay warm and comfortable in their home, and luckily there are lots of strategies and solutions to help us do just that – including some that won’t add to our climate woes.

What’s preventing us from being warm in our homes? Conduction and convection. If a house is cold and drafty it is because heat is escaping through uninsulated walls and attics (conduction), and through holes and gaps that let air in (convection). The process of warm air escaping from the interior of your house to the outside is called the “stack effect.” It’s what happens when you heat the interior of your home but that heated air escapes upwards (because hot air rises!) causing a vacuum drawing cold air in from cracks and gaps in your basement. Then you heat up that new, cold air, and when it’s hot, it rises and escapes!

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October 9, 2018

Home Composting

Tompkins Weekly   10-8-18

By Adam Michaelides

Fall is an excellent time of year to compost. Dead leaves are becoming abundant once again. These “brown” materials are just what the outdoor compost needs throughout the year to feed microorganisms, and provide adequate airflow. If you compost outdoors, take the time to squirrel away bags of dry leaves to use in the compost until next fall. You’ll be happy you did!

Composting at home in the backyard, or indoors using a worm or bokashi bin, is a super sustainable practice. Your food, yard, and garden discards are kept on your property instead of transported somewhere else and then mechanically processed. This saves on fossil fuel use, and wear and tear on roads and vehicles. Landfilling food scraps and other organic discards can cause all sorts of problems – from added carbon emissions through fossil fuel use, to methane generation for decades to come. Composting these materials on a large scale is a lot better; however, environmentally-speaking the most sustainable way is to compost right at home.

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