Earth Day Focus on Being Climate Smart and Climate Ready

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Tompkins Weekly 04/15/2013

By Joey Diana Gates

Global warming, climate change, greenhouse gases and superstorms. These are all words that have become part of the vernacular for this generation.  As international groups work to find consensus on the issues, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change-related incidents have continued to rise.  Once seen as distant future possibilities, the realities behind those words are now unfolding in real time.  Locally, many in our community have acted to lower our climate impacts and have begun to strategize adaptation. This year, Earth Day season kicks off on Thursday, April 18 with the Climate Smart & Climate Ready Conference opening keynote, and is capped with the annual Earth Day Ithaca event at the Ithaca Farmers’ Market Pavilion.

Open to the public, the Climate Smart & Climate Ready Conference is being coordinated by Sustainable Tompkins, under the leadership of Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton. The aim is to bring together Cortland and Tompkins County nonprofits, colleges, businesses, youth groups and local governments in the hope of helping to share the knowledge needed to make our communities more climate friendly and resilient to the (climate) changes underway.  Keynote speaker will be independent journalist and writer, Mark Hertsgaard.  The author of “Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years,” Mr. Hertsgaard will speak at the Hangar Theatre on “Winning the Climate Fight.” As a co-founder of the group Climate Parents, he will suggest that parents (and grandparents) have a special obligation to join the climate fight.

The conference includes tracks covering many sectors where climate change will impact: agriculture, local government, public health, legal, and business.  A separate track is focused on how Communities themselves will cope with the many aspects of climate change. How do we help each other get through the coming changes and deal with the grief over this legacy?  While the outlook is not a rosy picture, change is in the works as presenters will share ideas on fostering resilience and cohesion through the creation of share-economies, community food production, on-site power generation schemes, and opening the doors to inclusive communities.

Capping the weekend will be the local Earth Day event, held Sunday, April 21, from Noon to 5:00 p.m. at the Ithaca Farmers’ Market Pavilion.  After the opening with a traditional Thanksgiving Address, Mark Hertsgaard will speak on the topic of “Parenting in a Warming World.”   This year we are very excited to be joined by the CLASSE Xraise Wind Turbine Challenge.  Open to all ages, visitors can build their own small wind turbines and test them using a human-powered fan.  If a turbine is designed efficiently, it will produce enough energy to power a small light bulb.  This activity will help people understand the relationship between work, energy, and power and will educate them about possible alternative energy sources.

We will also feature music on the solar powered stage, from Sim Redmond and the Crow Weaver Band. Of special delight for the little ones, Miss Angie Beeler of Music & Motion will offer a fun and interactive music set and Dan Hill, of the Cayuga Nation will present Sounds and Stories from the Natural World.

Redmond Earth Day

Sim and Asa Redmond at Earth Day 2008. Photo by Frank Muller, First Frost Photo.










Earth Day is free and open to the public. For more information or to participate, please contact Joey at 387-7799 or

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