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.

May 23, 2019

Let’s Help GreenStar Walk the Walk!

Tompkins Weekly 5-22-19

By Jonathan Comstock

For more than 40 years, GreenStar has been widely loved as an alternative to traditional commercial supermarkets and a focal point for services, education, and community activities in the greater Ithaca area. But it is much more than that. As a cooperative owned by its 13,000 members, it’s the embodiment of values we share as a community. Sometimes, when we step back and look at it, it teaches us something about ourselves.

This is one of those moments. As GreenStar moves to a larger space, it has many hard choices to make. It just made the particularly courageous decision to invest in measures that will greatly improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the new building. This is a classic case of paying a little more up front for something that will reap major rewards in the future — and it couldn’t have come at a more critical time. The groups listed at the bottom of this article applaud this decision and ask the community to step up and support it.

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May 8, 2019

The Sixth Extinction?

Tompkins Weekly 5-8-19

By Richard W. Franke

“We should really thank our lucky stars,” wrote world-famous Alexander Agassiz, Professor of Zoology at Harvard University, the late Stephen Jay Gould, when discussing the K-T mass extinction of the dinosaurs that took place about 66 million years ago. Acknowledging the current theory of a monster asteroid slamming into the earth and generating a massive dust cloud that blocked out photosynthesis in plants and plankton — or had some as yet unknown effects — Gould explains: “Dinosaurs and mammals had shared the earth for more than 130 million years.” Without “this ultimate random bolt from the blue, dinosaurs would still dominate the habitats of large terrestrial vertebrates, and mammals would still be rat-size creatures living in the ecological interstices of their world.”

Lucky for us this asteroid hit at such an opportune geological moment, too. Lucky, that it cleared away 75 percent of species existing at the time, so that as the dust cloud dissipated and the sun’s rays could reinvigorate the earth’s surface, there was space for the branching out of new species, but still something around for those rat-size mammals to eat

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April 24, 2019

Education for Sustainability at the Compost Fair

Tompkins Weekly 4-24-19

By Sarah Dellett

This Sunday, the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) is hosting its 25th Annual Compost Fair at 615 Willow Avenue from 12 to 4 p.m. The event is organized by CCE’s Master Composter program, which trains community members in composting and community outreach. The event is free and open to the public. All are invited to attend, including kids, beginners, and advanced composters.

I am currently training to become a Master Composter. I had first learned about the program from Joey Gates, a Master Composter, and the coordinator of a local dish service called the Dish Truck. As a student at Cornell, I studied agriculture and soil science. For one of my classes, I did a video project with Gates on how she is using bioremediation on her land in Mecklenburg. When she bought the property, it was littered with garbage. Gates is restoring it back to a managed farm by cleaning up the trash and adding organic matter to remediate the soil.

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