New Vision Statement for a Socially Just and Ecologically Sound Local Economy in the Tompkins County Region

This vision was first created in images by over 100 local residents at the Building Bridges workshop on November 15-16, 2011.  The pictures showed people of all ages, in the city and in rural areas, celebrating life, experiencing an abundance of local food, engaged in a thriving local marketplace rich in culture and diversity, using renewable energy, and connecting across former divides.

In words, we envision a community that is earth-centered, people-centered, fair, and equitable. We envision a Tompkins County that identifies itself by its human rights and ecojustice values, and exemplifies for other regions and communities throughout the nation how to live by these values. In this vision, all citizens can be heard, recognize their interdependence and are active in shaping the priorities of this community. Our commitment to Tompkins County is not isolationist; rather, it is made with a view toward maximizing the benefits of our actions with respect to other communities, ecosystems, and people across the world.

Key Elements of a Sustainable Future, as derived from Building Bridges discussions:

Our social economic and political structures are based on equality, inclusion and fairness. This means:
•    Everyone has a purpose, is valued, feels safe, cared for, included and is able to get basic needs met.
•    Structural poverty, racism, and other forms of discrimination are eliminated.
•    All of our educational institutions have eliminated achievement gaps across lines of race, class, gender, and disability status, and support all students to achieve their full potential.

Our social, economic and political decisions are framed by respect for the earth and our local and regional ecosystem. This means:
•    All have sufficient water and air that is clean and safe.
•    Energy comes from renewable sources to the extent possible.
•    Waste is eliminated or minimized and managed in an ecologically sustainable way
•    Our carbon emissions have been reduced to a level that our ecosystems can safely process
•    We have a countywide transportation system that is energy-efficient, accessible, and convenient.
•    We use sustainable methods to grow much of our own food for local distribution.

Our economy supports the well-being of everyone who lives or works in Tompkins County including previously marginalized communities and individuals. This means:
•    We have full employment at a wage that sustains a high quality of life.
•    Our workforce development and preparation systems are efficient, effective and ensure that everyone who wants to work will find a job.
•    We invest our money locally and support local businesses and entrepreneurs.
•    Local money and skills are used to the degree possible.
•    Housing is affordable, safe, and energy efficient.