Finger Lakes Enterprises for Climate Action (FLECA) Offsets 2021 Emissions

We did it. 

At the end of 2020, we set a goal to build a coalition of local businesses and organizations to lead on the climate emergency by taking responsibility for their carbon emissions each year. To start, we set a goal of offsetting $12,500 of emissions from this sector, which would directly fund 6 local families in Climate Fund grants to transition off of fossil fuels – that otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford to. 

This past year, 14 businesses joined FLECA to offset their energy bills, travel miles, and deliveries. They’ve invited their clientele to join in the offsetting, as well.

We BLEW past our $12,500 goal by the end of our ‘20 – ‘21 campaign. 

… And I completely missed us crossing the finish line! 

Together, we raised $16,665 this fiscal year. I’m eager to see our members renew their offsetting commitments and welcome new partners to the team.  

It is incredibly gratifying to see businesses account for their emissions and work with us and their team to reduce everywhere else they can. The business sector has a key role to play in building resilience locally in the face of accelerating climate change — and often has more capacity than an individual to invest in climate protection. We are proud to see our local community businesses directly fund these resiliency projects that immensely improve the lives of lower-income community members right here in the Finger Lakes while eliminating an equal amount of emissions! 

Thank you. Thank you. We are so proud to have you! – Halco, Ithaca Marriott, Dailey Electric, Discover Cayuga Lake, Carol Bushberg Real Estate, Paddle-n-more, Beck Equipment, Odyssey Bookstore, Leslie Danks Burke for NY State Senate, Firelight Camps, Rogues Harbor Inn, Freedom Boat Club, and Food Forest Farm. 

Let’s go tackle 2022’s emissions!

Big Climate Fund Offsets to Glasgow!

Doreen Harris, President of NYSERDA, and Basil Seggos, Commissioner of the DEC, both offset the carbon emissions for their plane travel to the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland this fall!

They each offset the 2,475 lbs of CO2 that were emitted from their flights. We feel so honored that they chose to take responsibility for those emissions with our local program right here in upstate New York.

Doreen Harris said,

“I couldn’t think of a better way to offset my carbon emissions from my recent flight to COP26 in Glasgow than through supporting the Finger Lakes Climate Fund. We must all work together to ensure our fellow New Yorkers can participate in the build out of healthier communities and experience cleaner, more comfortable living and working spaces. As such, the Fund aligns with the state’s efforts in providing meaningful benefits through energy efficiency projects for low to moderate income households in the Finger Lakes region. I commend their outstanding work and thank them for joining in our collective actions to tackle climate change head on.”

Basil Seggos agreed, 

“The Fund’s carbon offset program is helping to advance our ambitious climate goals and prioritizing environmental justice for all New Yorkers.”

Unfortunately, we can’t all attend an international climate conference like COP26, but we can each take responsibility for some of our emissions — and as a result, help slash emissions right here in our local neighborhoods. You can offset with the Climate Fund using our carbon calculator and read more about the projects you help fund with our community’s local offsets!

Help Us Give the Gift of Warmth and Clean Energy for Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is an opportunity for people around the world to come together to show support for the causes they care about. For Giving Tuesday 2021, we are raising funds for our Finger Lakes Climate Fund.

The Climate Fund directly benefits Finger Lakes residents by offsetting the carbon emissions from donors’ fossil fuel use through grants to low-income families, businesses, and organizations for energy efficiency projects such as insulation, air-sealing, and air-source heat pump installation. See our grant awardee profiles for examples of our grants helping many in our communities to save money and live more safely and comfortably while reducing their fossil fuel use.

This Giving Tuesday, we are raffling off a night of luxury camping at Firelight Camps in Ithaca, NY and an Eco-Cruise with Discover Cayuga Lake Boat Tours. For every offset worth $5 you will receive 1 entry– see our raffle on Instagram and Facebook @flxclimatefund.

Donate directly on our Climate Fund website or on Venmo @sustainable-tompkins.

Bike Repair Station Dedicated in Downtown Ithaca

We were glad to attend this great gathering on November 18th to dedicate the first bike repair station in downtown Ithaca – funded by our Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program!! Biking brings business to downtowns and providing this kind of infrastructure enables all sorts of residents to own and use their bikes regularly. Our team was glad to support this collaborative project of Downtown Ithaca Alliance, Go Ithaca, and BikeWalk Tompkins.

The repair stand is set up in the Press Bay Courtyard and comes with a great set of attached tools for any number of repairs to your bike. Alongside is a sturdy tire pump as well. Plus you can aim your phone at the QR code and pick among several videos that will provide you step by step instructions to make your particular bike repair.

If all goes well with this first one, the collaborative team behind this hopes to install several more at various points in the City.

Thanks to BikeWalk Tompkins, Downtown Ithaca Alliance, Go Ithaca, and the businesses down in Press Bay Court!

Carbon Offset Cruise This Wednesday! 10/6

You heard that right… the first EVER ?Carbon Offset Cruise? is on the horizon!

Wednesday, October 6th @ 6 PM to be exact, which also just happens to be Energy Efficiency Day.

Join us as Discover Cayuga Lake celebrates the summer-long contributions cruise-goers have made to offset the carbon emissions of their trips – whether it be learning about lake algae, taking samples, or at Club Cayuga! ⛴??

It’ll be a wonderful chance to learn more about the sustainability & climate justice movement right there in the Finger Lakes while on the water!

This is a FREE eco-tourism community cruise. All are welcome. No previous sustainability knowledge necessary – just come ready to learn and relax on the Teal.

The boat is docked at the end of Marina Drive, across from the Park Police building. Look for the big boat that says MV Teal. There is plenty of parking available. Oh, and don’t forget to BYOB. See you soon!

Sign up to secure your free spot.

Giving Tuesday is December 1!

Join us on December 1 for the annual Giving Tuesday celebration of your favorite local nonprofits that protect our quality of life, our democracy, and our environment. We’ll be hosting a live Q&A session on our Instagram page at 1:00 pm EST (sustainable_tc) if you are curious about our programs and all the things our team is working on this fall. 

You can also join us for Sustainability Bingo on our facebook and Instagram pages!  Choose which actions and offsets you want to support and make your donation either to our website donations page or via Facebook to Sustainable Tompkins Inc.

You can help us keep our Neighborhood MiniGrants funded with donations at the $5, $10, $25 or $40 level. Since 2008, we’ve supported 196 citizen-driven initiatives with $77,478 in small grants. Dozens of these projects were just dreams when we provided seed money to get started, and now they are some of our leading sustainability initiatives such as Dish Truck, Finger Lakes Toy Library, Ithaca Murals and the local Sunrise chapter. Our movement is growing thanks to your support for these minigrants!

Or help us keep the Climate Fund solvent by offsetting all kinds of your own carbon emissions – from charging your smartphone to all those home deliveries during the shutdown to your home energy emissions for a year.  We certainly need your offset dollars right now – we’ve been incredibly busy giving away grants to help lower-income families get off fossil fuels and we’re running on empty now!

We’ve worked hard over the past 16 years to provide both leadership and support to our local movement. Often on the pioneering edge of sustainability thought, we are now working to help our Finger Lakes Region weave more resilience, stewardship, and equity into the fabric of our communities. We can’t do this alone – can’t even attempt it without your support! 

Heat Pumps for All!

New Incentives Bring Clean Energy to Local Families

For a long time, there’s been a presumption that getting off fossil fuels was something only the wealthy could accomplish. But that is changing and there are growing opportunities for lower-income residents to lead the way by making their homes zero carbon via air-source heat pump heating systems and signing up for solar electricity.

The mission of the Finger Lakes Climate Fund (FLCF) run by Sustainable Tompkins is to make sure that nobody is left behind in the transition to a clean energy economy. And one of the best ways to do that is to lower the cost barriers for access to high efficiency equipment that can be run on renewable energy. The Climate Fund has been doing that since 2010 by giving grants to those who need help making energy improvements.

Wailin Phyo of Snug Planet installs a heat pump

Together, donors to the Climate Fund have funded 32 awards worth more than $53,000 that will prevent almost 2500 tons of CO2 from entering our atmosphere. Of course, the benefits to the grant recipients are multiple – safer, healthier, more comfortable homes with lower energy bills.  Not to mention the green jobs that are supported locally by making the projects possible.

During 2019-2021, Sustainable Tompkins will be partnering with HeatSmart Tompkins and NYSERDA to bring the positive benefits of heat pump technology to low-to-moderate income (LMI) families throughout our community. Over the past 3 years, the ultra-high efficiency of heat pump technology has been funded in over 70% of the Climate Fund grants awarded. But the upfront price of this technology still remains out of reach for many. A two-year grant from NYSERDA will provide funds to combine additional incentives for heat pumps with carbon offset grants to bring down the price and help dozens more families make their home energy clean, green, and affordable.

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Help us Seal the Cracks this Winter!

(This article appeared in the 11/27/19 issue of Tompkins Weekly.)

Inequality and the climate crisis are our community’s biggest long-term threats. It may seem utterly overwhelming to try to address them at the same time, but together we can take action and make a powerful difference.

Sustainable Tompkins is running a Seal the Cracks winter campaign that provides everyone the opportunity to tackle both problems at the same time.  They run a local carbon offset program (Finger Lakes Climate Fund) that is aimed at making sure everyone is included in a clean energy, equitable future by using offset donations to help lower-income neighbors make energy improvements.  Now, more than ever, we need to come together as a community to build resilience in the face of the climate crisis and make sure no one is left behind. By offsetting your own carbon emissions, you can help others in our community.

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New Videos Promote Local Carbon Offsetting

Shira Evergreen, local videographer

Over the summer and fall, we worked with videographer Shira Evergreen to craft a series of ten videos that describe how carbon offsetting works in our Finger Lakes Climate Fund along with all the details for our new program to provide extra incentives for heat pumps to lower-income families along with our carbon offset grants.

Check them out on our ST YouTube channel! Thanks to Shira for her excellent work on site and in the editing booth.

We’re partnering with HeatSmart Tompkins and HeatSmart CNY to bring a fantastic package of incentives to lower-income folks to get their homes tightened up and running on uber efficient heat pumps — and hopefully also signed up for solar and wind electricity to make their homes Zero Carbon.

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Welcome Marisa Lansing!

Sustainable Tompkins is delighted to introduce Marisa Lansing, our new part-time program assistant for our Finger Lakes Climate Fund. Marisa worked for ST over the summer as one of our Clean Energy interns partially supported by NYSERDA, and devoted her time to promoting the Climate Fund and assisting videographers documenting our carbon offset program. 

In her new role as Climate Fund Coordinator, Marisa will be encouraging everyone to offset their carbon emissions, conducting outreach to inform LMI (lower to moderate-income) residents about the benefits of switching to heat pumps, and maintaining our social media accounts. She will be working with Gay in our partnership with HeatSmart Tompkins using funding from a 2-year NYSERDA grant to combine our carbon offset grants with new additional incentives for lower-income families to switch to heat pumps for heating, cooling, and hot water. These incentives will be offered in Tompkins and Chemung counties, as well as the adjacent towns of the surrounding counties. We’re also partnering with CNY HeatSmart on a similar program in Cayuga, Cortland, Onondaga and Madison Counties.

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