Tompkins County Legislature Hears Comments on Local Climate Action

TC Legislature 12-15-15

(Fossil Free Tompkins organized a rally and speak-out to the Tompkins County Legislature on December 15 to encourage them to act boldly and quickly to eliminate fossil fuel consumption in our county.  More than 60 attended and 30+ provided comments.  Below are remarks by Sustainable Tompkins President Gay Nicholson.)

The Paris climate talks have concluded, and although we can celebrate this initial acknowledgment to stay below 2 C of warming and to at least measure and report emissions, we all know that much more needed to be accomplished at this point in the climate transition.

The next five years will be critical for global climate systems. The next two years of this legislative term must be used to start really digging into the detailed work of emission reductions. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Seal the Cracks’ Campaign Success!

Seal the Cracks Campaign BadgeWe have good news to share – we have surpassed our goals for the Seal the Cracks campaign! Thanks to the inspiring leadership of 93 local businesses, nonprofits, campus groups, and residents, we have raised $12,214 and offset 611 tons of greenhouse gas as of Election Day.   In addition to these contributions, we were also supported by over $2,000 of donated services and goods from a dozen area businesses and nonprofits. Thanks to all the media support and our events, hundreds of county residents have learned about our local carbon offset program and all the good it does in our community.

Thank you all!!

We’ve already notified area contractors that we have grants available from the Finger Lakes Climate Fund. And our little campaign team has met to identify next steps to keep building support and movement toward our goal of having carbon offsetting as much a part of our local lifestyle as recycling.

Special thanks to Ellen Harrison for chairing our campaign committee and to Anna Odell for being our exceptionally able project assistant. We’re so grateful for your energy, leadership, and dedication!

Ithaca Premiere of ‘This Changes Everything’ will be Capstone for ‘Seal the Cracks’ Campaign

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What if confronting the climate crisis is the best chance we’ll get to build a better world?

Sustainable Tompkins is partnering with Cinemapolis to support the October 24-30 Seal the Cracks campaign of the Finger Lakes Climate Fund by hosting the Ithaca premiere of This Changes Everything by Avi Lewis, based on Naomi Klein’s 2014 best-selling book of the same name.

Filmed over 211 shoot days in nine countries and five continents over four years, This Changes Everything is an epic attempt to re-imagine the vast challenge of climate change.

Seating is limited for the one-time screening of this film that explores how we must change our world to deal with the climate crisis.  We suggest you buy your tickets in advance HERE.

We also urge you to put the finishing touches on your carbon diet by offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from your air and auto travel and building energy use through the Finger Lakes Climate Fund.   Read the rest of this entry »

How Would You Spend a Carbon Tax? Join us at Science Cabaret!

Tuesday, October 27, 7:00 pm, SCIENCE CABARET, Coltivare

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WHAT IF NEW YORK PASSED A CARBON TAX?  Community Leaders Role Play the Future

MC:  Mark Sarvary

Host: Gay Nicholson, Sustainable Tompkins and the Seal the Cracks campaign

Premise:  NYS has passed a carbon tax after much debate.  It is one of the most aggressive and visionary in North America.  Each county will receive from the State a share of the collected tax after 60% of the tax is redistributed to low and moderate-income households to compensate them for higher fossil carbon energy prices.

In a stunning political compromise, the Cuomo administration agreed to forego collecting any of the carbon tax for use at the state level.  All of the 40% remaining refunds is to go to the counties to be used locally to both meet the State climate goal of 80% emission reductions by 2050 and to pay for any adaptation response needed by local communities. Read the rest of this entry »

Local Carbon Offset Week starts October 24!

Saturday, October 24th 12:00 – 5:00 pm, OKTOBERFEST, The Commons

Seal the Cracks Logo 3 flaviconHave YOU Got the Energy?
Join us at the Seal the Cracks booth at Oktoberfest. While sampling our local breweries, take part in our energy bike competition and scavenger hunt in Ithaca’s downtown!

We will be giving away fantastic local prizes and accepting pledges and offsets. Join us on the Commons from noon to 5 pm!


Come Help us “Seal the Cracks!”

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Wondering what you can do to address climate change and social inequities? Are you looking to make a difference here and now?

Sustainable Tompkins is looking for several volunteers to help us over the next two months with a number of events and media outreach related to our Seal the Cracks campaign to promote the Finger Lakes Climate Fund – our local carbon offset fund.

We need your help to make a big splash! We will be hosting a variety of fun events, and doing lots of outreach to local folks. We would like to see carbon offsetting be as much a part of the Ithaca lifestyle as recycling! Read the rest of this entry »

The Sustainability Table – Your Homeroom for Sustainability in Tompkins County

Sx Table Anna, Ellen, Kitty

We’re excited to announce our participation in the upcoming “day of giving” for our community on Friday, August 28!  Organized by the good folks at GiveGab, it’s an opportunity for everyone in our county to come together in support of local nonprofits that are so important to the placemaking, quality of life, and shared future of our region.  Sustainable Tompkins has put together an online fundraising portal for The Sustainability Table — a way to support our work as we support our local sustainability movement.

Your gift today means we can keep “home room” open for the many volunteers and community leaders who gather here to work on behalf of stewardship, justice, and plenitude.  It costs $15 a day to keep the doors open, or $450 a month.  Please help us reach our goal of $5400 to keep this resource for the movement secure for the next year.  Or be a different kind of One Percenter and donate $54 to the campaign!

The conference table in the Sustainable Tompkins office has seen a lot of action over the years.  Its residue of invisible fingerprints of shared ideas, strategic organizing, renewed commitments, and challenges to the status quo can be seen out in our community as new infrastructure, policies, enterprises, and social norms pushing us forward to new systems of living and working together. Read the rest of this entry »

Earth Day 2015 – Voices Past, Voices Present

In honor of the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, Sustainable Tompkins will again host the Earth Day Ithaca celebration on Sunday, April 19, from Noon to 8PM, bringing the community together for a day of celebration, eco-activism, and entertainment. This year the event is co-sponsored by a Tompkins County Community Celebrations Grant and GreenStar Cooperative Market, and will be held at The Space (at GreenStar,) featuring local inspirational speakers, entertainers, musicians, poets, earth-friendly exhibitors, and more. The program has been expanded to include an open mike Earth Jam/Poetry Slam, with the voices of today’s poets, rappers, and small music acts to perform 10-minute sets. Folks interested in tabling or volunteering, please contact Joey Diana Gates at or call (607) 644-5525.  Schedule of events below:  Read the rest of this entry »

Heat Pump Workshop for Developers and Builders

Slide18Sustainable Tompkins will be hosting a special presentation on “Building and Heating With the Climate in Mind” on Tuesday, March 17 from 1:00-3:00 pm at Hotel Ithaca (222 S. Cayuga St.).  This event is for anyone connected to the building sector in our area: developers, architects, engineers, builders, mortgage bankers, realtors, contractors, electricians, suppliers, designers, plumbers, elected officials, and planning boards.

NYS and Tompkins County are set to make progress on their climate action goals by enacting new energy systems and policies to promote efficiency, demand management, and renewable supplies.  The building sector is on a parallel course, with leading edge developers demonstrating impressive energy savings with better design and deployment of proven technologies.

Tompkins County recently affirmed its commitment to support economic development that helps us reach our goal of 80% emission reductions by 2050.  Read the rest of this entry »

Building and Heating With the Climate in Mind

Alternatives seminar Dryden Town Hall 2-19-15If you missed our presentation at the Dryden Town Hall on February 19, you can watch a video of our talk thanks to the efforts of Cris McConkey and Eddie Rodriguez.  Eddie ran the camera system and Cris quickly finished up the editing so that we could share the video with those interested in learning the details about how air and ground-source heat pumps work and how they compare to using methane or propane for space heating and hot water.

We are grateful for the introduction by town board member Linda Lavine and our hosts (Dryden Town Board, the Town Planning Board and the Town Conservation Board).  On an exceptionally bitter cold night with plenty of blowing snow, we were glad to see a crowd of about 30 brave the weather to join us. Read the rest of this entry »