Sustainable Tompkins has been working hard over the past five months to coordinate a major regional conference on making our communities more climate friendly and climate resilient.  Under the leadership of Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, a coalition of Cortland and Tompkins County nonprofits, colleges, businesses, youth groups, and local governments has formed to support ongoing planning and action on climate mitigation and adaptation.  The Climate Smart & Climate Ready conference will take place April 18-21 at multiple venues in Cortland and Ithaca.  The  conference will focus on how our local governments, institutions, residents and businesses can both lower fossil carbon emissions and prepare for multiple impacts of a turbulent climate regime.

Mark HertsgaardThe conference opens the evening of Thursday, April 18 with a keynote presentation at the Hangar Theater in Ithaca featuring Mark Hertsgaard, author of “Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth.”  Mark will join ST President Gay Nicholson and panelists from academia and state government to talk about what actions are being taken at the state level.

Events on Friday, April 19 will be held in Cortland for the agricultural sector, and in Ithaca for the legal and medical professions.  Saturday will feature an all-day conference in downtown Ithaca with specific tracks developed for elected and appointed local government representatives, business and economic development interests, and community leaders.  A Youth Power Summit focused on the overlap between climate justice, economic justice, and social justice will take place on the Ithaca College campus on Saturday and Sunday.

On Sunday, April 21, families and citizens are encouraged to come celebrate Earth Day at the Ithaca Farmers Market and in downtown Cortland, and learn how they can share in the responsibility of coping with climate impacts while preventing additional damage to our atmosphere.

Everyone has a role to play in protecting and preparing our communities for climate change.  We are grateful to our sponsors for making the conference possible, and to Assemblywoman Lifton and the members of the coalition for working toward a shared understanding of what our region is facing and how we might simultaneously lessen the severity of climate change while coping with what has already been set in motion.  We thank our promotion partners for getting the word out to people throughout the Southern Tier, Central, and Finger Lakes Regions.

Events are free and open to the public except for the multi-venue Saturday conference downtown.  Tickets for Saturday are only $20 and include morning refreshments and afternoon reception ($12 for students and scholarships are available).  Seating is limited so be sure to buy your ticket today!