ST Events

We More Than Doubled our Goal for the Climate Fund!

Thank you to the 54 donors who helped us race past our goal of raising $2500 for the Finger Lakes Climate Fund in May in our ‘Climate Justice in the Time of Corona” campaign! Besides the $4,121 we raised on GiveGab, two other donors sent us $1,679 via our Climate Fund website, and checks totaling $1,000 came in for a grand total of $6,800!! We are all just delighted to be able to refill the Fund, and this will probably be enough to do 3-4 more projects in the homes of lower-income residents. THANKS to all of you bringing heat pumps and clean energy to everyone in our community!

Join Us at the Debate!

We are co-sponsoring the Assembly District 125 Environmental Candidate Forum with New York League of Conservation Voters on May 28th at 5:30 pm via Zoom! We’ve got a line-up of questions for them on the most pressing regional sustainability issues. Register today to reserve your spot and receive your Zoom credentials to get into the event: bit.ly/AD125Forum

We’re Doing SO Good! Let’s Not Lose Momentum!

Just as we were entering the covid-19 shutdown, our Finger Lakes Climate Fund had reached a wonderful goal: our 50th local carbon offset grant – this time to a family in Trumansburg. With this award – thanks to all of our offsetters! – we have collectively kept 4,300 tons of CO2 from our atmosphere by helping local families with more than $80,000 in Climate Fund grants to help make their homes more energy efficient and ready to run on renewable energy.
 
Recently we signed 3 more checks for almost $12,000 that will help single mothers in Newfield, Hector, and Groton convert from polluting fuel oil, firewood, and propane to clean and efficient heat pumps – lowering their energy bills and improving the health of asthmatic family members.
 
Of course, we are all on PAUSE right now. Our friends at Snug Planet and Halco won’t be able to do these projects and others in our pipeline until they are allowed to work again in people’s homes. But we wanted to reach out and share some of the stories of the people you’ve helped by taking responsibility for your carbon emissions and offsetting with our Climate Fund. (Thanks again offsetters!)
 
Through our partnership with HeatSmart Tompkins and NYSERDA, we’ve been able to combine additional incentives for heat pumps for lower-income households with our Climate Fund grants. Since we started last fall, we’ve given away $38,633 from our Climate Fund plus $43,000 from our special heat pump fund to 24 households in 5 counties. 
 

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Earth Day 2020: Connection, Solidarity, & Action

A local team is organizing an online Earth Day celebration, to be held on Wednesday, April 22, beginning at 2:00 PM. As a series of short performances and presentations by artists and non-profit organizations, it will be an opportunity to deepen our connection with others, share information on all the activities going on, reinforce the feelings and actions of solidarity that have arisen from the COVID-19 response, and make connections to others who might help. All parties interested in presenting at this event must fill out the online presenter interest form no later than Monday, April 13. If you have questions, please contact Karim Beers at kwb6@cornell.edu.

Neighborhood Mini-Grant Applications Due April 1

Do you have an idea for a project to make our community more sustainable, resilient, or inclusive? Need a little help in covering the costs? Sustainable Tompkins is accepting applications for our spring/summer round of Neighborhood Mini-Grants.

The Sustainable Tompkins Neighborhood Mini-Grant program supports initiatives improving environmental sustainability, equity, and environmental, economic, and social justice in Tompkins County. Since it began in 2008, it has awarded more than $73,000 in 188 grants to innovative grassroots projects throughout the county,

Grants are $150-$750 and support initiatives promoting sustainable food systems, alternative transportation, waste reduction/reuse, energy conservation/fossil fuel use reduction, and environmental education, and addressing social and economic inequality.

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New Video Tells Story of the Climate Fund

Climate Protection on the Home Front tells the story of how our Finger Lakes Climate Fund works from the point of view of some of our carbon offsetters, grant awardees, and our partners at Snug Planet. Many thanks to Eric Banford for the music, and Fred Bertram, Lucienne Cruvallier, and David Way for the photos. Thanks to Bill Hecht for the drone video, and to David Way for making the video and editing all the pieces together. Check out our other Climate Fund videos on our YouTube channel!

Sustainable Finger Lakes platform launched

photo by Bill Hecht

In November, Sustainable Tompkins went live with our new Sustainable Finger Lakes web platform with its Map of over 700 sustainability-minded organizations. The platform will be a shared resource for activists, innovators, and entrepreneurs to find each other, discover resources in nearby communities, and organize more effectively around issues of community development. This will be a place to share your news and upcoming events, send out Calls for Action on diverse issues, and celebrate each other’s contributions to a better future. You can also post your events on our shared Calendar so that it will be easier to coordinate the timing of local events.

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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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