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 14, 2019

Nuclear Arms and Climate Disruption: Two Inconvenient Truths

Tompkins Weekly 2-13-19

By Dr. Charles Geisler

At a time when major nuclear arms treaties are being orphaned and thick reports on climate disruption are accumulating like waves on a stormy beach, many are asking if there are connections between the two. The answer is an obvious and uncomfortable yes.

Consider ‘nuclear winter,’ the name given to the prolonged darkness believed by Carl Sagan and other senior scientists to arrive on the heels of nuclear war. Some or all of the planet will be darkened by the ash plumes of nuclear incineration. Photosynthesis will wane along with parts of the food chain, habitats we take for granted, and healthy ecosystem services we depend on. Our largest nuclear reactor, the sun, will be eclipsed by the effects of thermonuclear war on earth.

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January 30, 2019

An Easily Digestible Climate Crisis Solution

Tompkins Weekly 1-30-18

By Amie Hamlin

Recently, the term “climate crisis” has started to replace the term “climate change.” Some worry that this newer terminology will scare people. That is exactly the point – to communicate the seriousness of what is happening to our planet, which is dire. There is not a lot of time to reverse the problem before we experience cataclysmic environmental events. Yet oftentimes when we talk about what to do to stop the melting glaciers, ensure our coastline cities don’t end up under water and secure our children’s future, one of the top solutions is left out of the discussion. The solution is one that we don’t have to sit by idly and worry about, it’s one we can actively make happen every day, and it won’t cost us a penny – in fact, it may save us money. It is more powerful than everything else we can do, combined.

Perhaps it is an “inconvenient truth,” but the solution is staring up at us from our plates. Animal agriculture is one of the top contributors to greenhouse gas production and the climate crisis. It’s not just beef, it’s all animals raised for food, including those raised organically, “sustainably,” or free-range.

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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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