Since 2006, Sustainable Tompkins has been celebrating the individuals and groups in our county that are improving our present and safeguarding our future, enriching our lives and making us better human beings. Our People’s Choice Signs of Sustainability Awards are selected through an online poll of community members who nominate those they believe made a contribution in the past year. Polls are open again and it is time to head to the online voting booth to show your support for the people, the businesses, and the organizations that stepped up in the past year to make ours a more sustainable and just community.

Voting is simple. Just go to and fill in the information on your choice. You can vote up to five times for a mix of your favorite sustainability heroines and heroes. Polls will close on April 12.

Nominations can be made in four categories (Individual, Youth, Organization, Business) and voters are asked to note which sectors were impacted, and to provide contact information for their nominee.

Last year’s top vote getters were Hotel Groton in the business category for their green restoration of the hotel and its organic café, and Mothers Out Front of the Finger Lakes for their work on clean energy in the organization category. Brian Eden took first place for individual action with his leadership of the county Environmental Management Council and the HeatSmart campaign of Solar Tompkins. New Roots High School students participating in the Cayuga Wetlands Restoration Intensive with members of the Cayuga Nation won first place in the Youth category.

Awardees for 2018 who took first through third place in the four categories will be announced at 4:30 pm during the annual Earth Day Ithaca Celebration on Sunday, April 22 at The Space. The theme this year is Arts & Sustainability and a mix of hands-on activities and exhibitors and live music will be featured from 12-3, with artist performances from 3-4:30 pm. Find details at This is a family-friendly event so bring the kids.

Now more than ever, people want their voices to be heard. They want to stand with others to affirm their values and make it clear that the long-term health and well being of their communities is primary. But sustainability and resilience aren’t bestowed upon a society. They are crafted and woven from the hard work, vision, and collaborative leadership of its members. Each of us is but one wave in an ocean of change; but together we create the current that determines our direction.

So, who inspired you over the past year with their efforts to create a more sustainable Tompkins County? Please honor their work by voting for them in our annual community sustainability awards at to  And thanks to Beck Equipment and the Sustainability Center for helping to sponsor our annual awards!