SOS Tompkins Weekly

Caroline Project Distributes LEDs

Tompkins Weekly 9-11-19

By Emily Adams

On Saturday, Oct. 5, volunteers with the Brighten Up Caroline project will begin distributing more than 10,000 LED light bulbs to Caroline residents. Their goal? To help Caroline residents use roughly one million fewer kilowatts of electricity and save roughly $125,000 per year, starting immediately!

How is this possible? Every 9W LED light bulb that replaces an old-fashioned 60W incandescent bulb will save 765 to 1,224 kilowatts of energy over the 13-to-22-year lifetime of that new bulb. At today’s electricity rates, that is more than $100 in savings per bulb. If a resident replaces 12 incandescent bulbs that are lit for three or more hours each day, that household will save more than $80 per year. And if volunteers can reach all 1,550 households in Caroline, that adds up to big savings, for residents and the planet as well.

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Sunrise Movement: Young People for Greener World

Tompkins Weekly 8-28-19

By Marisa Lansing

Is Ithaca really as progressive as we think? We have social justice ventures, green space and many sustainability-focused organizations, but are we prepared for the climate emergency? Sunrise Ithaca brought a Green New Deal resolution to the city, which was approved by the Common Council.

Now is the time for our community to come together for climate justice. This is our only chance; science has proven that we’re running out of time.

The Sunrise Movement is a national mobilization of young people, started in 2017, to fight the global threat of climate change. We demand that political leaders of this country put climate justice as number one on their agenda by taking extreme actions such as implementing a bold GND.

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Smithsonian Exhibit Raises Water Awareness

Tompkins Weekly 8-14-19

By Patricia Haines Gooding

In our water-rich region, it is easy to forget that much of the world increasingly faces critical water shortages, threatening whole cultures as well as lives. It is well worth the short trip up to Aurora between Aug. 16 and Sept. 29 for a science-based, comprehensive, graphic reminder from the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street, as the Aurora Historical Society, Aurora Masonic Center and Wells College co-host the multi-media “Water/Ways” exhibit.

Here is evidence that good can still come out of Washington: Museum on Main Street is funded by the U.S. Congress. The Museum Association of New York chose Aurora to be one of only three NYS locales for this extraordinary, comprehensive program.

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Wherefore Art Thou, Sustainability?

Tompkins Weekly 7-24-19

By Thomas Shelley

We have heard of dire predictions for our planet if we, collectively, allow global warming to continue past 2030. The main thrust to prevent climate disaster is greenhouse gas reduction – methane, carbon dioxide, refrigerants. This generally turns into energy use reduction, specifically, cessation of the use of fossil fuels, methane being the worst of all and energy conservation in its many forms – buildings with lower energy requirements and the electrification of transportation, both powered by renewable energy instead of fossil fuels.

Much of what needs to be accomplished needs to be done via policy, funding and action at the international, state and corporate level.

However, we are a global civilization made up of individuals and the decisions we make in our personal lives affect our sum outcome. So, what is the individual to do in what often seems like the face overwhelming odds?

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Why We Need to Get the Lead Out

Tompkins Weekly 7-10-19

By Thomas Shelley

Lead in our environment remains a major source of damaging contamination for people and wildlife. Deposition of lead into the environment is a danger to the health, safety and general welfare of our communities.

The effects of lead on living things have been noted and studied for hundreds of years. Prolonged or repeated exposure to low levels of lead may result in an accumulation in body tissues and exert adverse effects on the blood, nervous systems, heart, endocrine and immune systems, kidneys and reproduction.

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The Sustainability of Women

Tompkins Weekly 6-12-19

By Jean E. Rightmire

Sustainability has been defined as “the process of people maintaining change in a balanced environment, in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations.”

Sustainability really begins with people. Habitat for Humanity of Tompkins and Cortland Counties (TCHFH) works with individuals, funders, companies and, organizations to help build a sustainability culture. We work to ensure there is sustainable growth. We help the communities we serve have a fundamental shift in vision and embrace the principles of sustainability in a range of housing operations.

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Let’s Help GreenStar Walk the Walk!

Tompkins Weekly 5-22-19

By Jonathan Comstock

For more than 40 years, GreenStar has been widely loved as an alternative to traditional commercial supermarkets and a focal point for services, education, and community activities in the greater Ithaca area. But it is much more than that. As a cooperative owned by its 13,000 members, it’s the embodiment of values we share as a community. Sometimes, when we step back and look at it, it teaches us something about ourselves.

This is one of those moments. As GreenStar moves to a larger space, it has many hard choices to make. It just made the particularly courageous decision to invest in measures that will greatly improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the new building. This is a classic case of paying a little more up front for something that will reap major rewards in the future — and it couldn’t have come at a more critical time. The groups listed at the bottom of this article applaud this decision and ask the community to step up and support it.

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The Sixth Extinction?

Tompkins Weekly 5-8-19

By Richard W. Franke

“We should really thank our lucky stars,” wrote world-famous Alexander Agassiz, Professor of Zoology at Harvard University, the late Stephen Jay Gould, when discussing the K-T mass extinction of the dinosaurs that took place about 66 million years ago. Acknowledging the current theory of a monster asteroid slamming into the earth and generating a massive dust cloud that blocked out photosynthesis in plants and plankton — or had some as yet unknown effects — Gould explains: “Dinosaurs and mammals had shared the earth for more than 130 million years.” Without “this ultimate random bolt from the blue, dinosaurs would still dominate the habitats of large terrestrial vertebrates, and mammals would still be rat-size creatures living in the ecological interstices of their world.”

Lucky for us this asteroid hit at such an opportune geological moment, too. Lucky, that it cleared away 75 percent of species existing at the time, so that as the dust cloud dissipated and the sun’s rays could reinvigorate the earth’s surface, there was space for the branching out of new species, but still something around for those rat-size mammals to eat

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Education for Sustainability at the Compost Fair

Tompkins Weekly 4-24-19

By Sarah Dellett

This Sunday, the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) is hosting its 25th Annual Compost Fair at 615 Willow Avenue from 12 to 4 p.m. The event is organized by CCE’s Master Composter program, which trains community members in composting and community outreach. The event is free and open to the public. All are invited to attend, including kids, beginners, and advanced composters.

I am currently training to become a Master Composter. I had first learned about the program from Joey Gates, a Master Composter, and the coordinator of a local dish service called the Dish Truck. As a student at Cornell, I studied agriculture and soil science. For one of my classes, I did a video project with Gates on how she is using bioremediation on her land in Mecklenburg. When she bought the property, it was littered with garbage. Gates is restoring it back to a managed farm by cleaning up the trash and adding organic matter to remediate the soil.

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What’s on Your Plate? Full Plate Farm CSA Feeds & Serves Community

Tompkins Weekly 4-9-19

By Sarah Huang

Christianne White first started her Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription with The Full Plate Farm Collective because she wanted to maintain a healthier diet and support small farms.

“I really wanted to eat food that was produced locally,” she explained. “And I wanted to eat more vegetables.”

A couple of years ago, CSA also served as a way for White to bring fresh produce to a family member who was ill.

“I would stop at the farm — Stick and Stone Farm — and go in the back to the U-Pick Gardens, and pick just a small box of something,” she said. “It came right from the garden and tasted fresh.”

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