Posts tagged climate denial

Salon series on “The Climate, the Market, and the Commons” well received

April 17 Gay and speakers

Sustainable Tompkins has concluded its well-attended series of spring salon discussions on “The Climate, the Market, and the Commons.” The salons featured guest speakers and group discussions that addressed the role of business, government, and the citizenry in dealing with climate change.  The salons were held at the Sustainability Center and attracted crowds of 65-85 people.  After initial presentations by guest respondents, the attendees moved through sets of discussion questions related to the evening’s topic.

The first salon in our series addressed the question of “Why are we stuck in climate denial?,” exploring the hurdles of even beginning to address the issue in a meaningful way.  The second salon, “Can business and technology save us?,” contrasted reasons for optimism for a “bright green” technological shift with evidence for a likely economic and ecological system collapse before a transition to clean energy can be completed. “Will government intervene?”, the third salon, brought together representatives from local, state, and federal government to discuss the public sector’s role in addressing climate change. And the last salon took up the question “Is it Up to the People?” with a focus on the clear need for leadership from the grassroots to help shift the market and push government to protect the commons.

You can view videos or listen to podcasts of the salons in the ‘The Climate, the Market, and the Commons’ series:

  • Why Are We Stuck in Climate Denial?    video / podcast – April 17, 2014
  • The Market and the Climate.     video podcast  – May 11, 2014
  • Will Government Intervene?    video podcast – June 5, 2014
  • Is it Up to the People? video / podcast – June 19, 2014

Many thanks to our video sponsors (Home Green Home and PPM Homes) and to Crooked Carrot Farm and Ithaca Bakery for catering donations. Thanks also to the Park Foundation, the guest conversants, the volunteers who worked hard to make the evenings run smoothly, our members, and all of the people who contributed to make the Salons possible.


Exploring the Connections: The Climate, the Market, and the Commons

Speaker at May 8 climate salonIf we want to calm the climate, if we want energy democracy, if we want to reform our governments and our economy…. this is the time to prioritize those goals above our private endeavors.  We invite you to join us at The People’s Salon on Thursday, June 5, 7 pm, 111 N. Albany.  It’s time we talked about reclaiming our government on behalf of the public good.

With thanks to Ithaca Bakery for catering and Home Green Home for sponsoring the video recording, we also welcome our guest respondents Mayor Svante Myrick, Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, and Professor Tony Ingraffea to the June 5 salon at the Sustainability Center.

We have been compiling some reading materials that may be useful to our shared conversation about what the climate situation requires of us as consumers, voters, taxpayers, and community members.  Check out the list below.  You can also access the video and a podcast of our first salon on climate denial, or the second salon video and podcast on the role of business and technology.  If you have suggestions to include, please email

Reading Resources for The People’s Salon: Conversations that Matter to Your Future



Governance, Sustainability, and Evolution.  John M. Gowdy. 2014.  Ch. 3 in Governing for Sustainability: State of the World 2014.  Island Press.

The Too-Polite Revolution: Understanding the Failure to Pass U.S. Climate Legislation.  Petra Bartosiewicz and Marissa Miley. 2014.  Ch. 11 in Governing for Sustainability: State of the World 2014.  Island Press. Read the rest of this entry »

Climate Denial Salon Attracts Large Crowd

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We were delighted to see over 80 people join us for the first conversation salon in our series on The Climate, the Market, and the Commons.  A team of local videographers led by Cris McConkey volunteered to film the event, and we’ll post the link to it once it is edited and uploaded.  Thanks to the Ithaca Journal for covering the event for us!

Reading Resources for The People’s Salon: Conversations that Matter to Your Future

This spring, Sustainable Tompkins will be hosting four conversation salons on the topic of climate change.  You can learn more about each topic by reading our weekly Signs of Sustainability column in the issue of Tompkins Weekly that comes out the same week as each salon.  You can also explore the topic by checking out some of the books, articles, and videos in the list below.  The list isn’t comprehensive of course, nor curated, but you can find a starting place at least for learning more about each session’s topic.

For those interested in learning about climate change, we invite you to scroll through a slide presentation on Global Warming Basics created by ST Board member Dick Franke and his wife Barbara Chasin.  Feel free to share with others who perhaps haven’t had the time to get familiar with the evidence and the chemistry of global warming.

April 17 Salon:  Why are we stuck in climate denial?

Read the rest of this entry »

Finding Solace and Support for Climate Angst

The Green BoatLast spring, many of the participants at our Climate Smart & Climate Ready conference thanked us for the session on Climate Justice and Climate Grief, which had provided their first opportunity for sharing their own reactions to climate disruption and the accompanying widespread climate denial.  Our keynote speaker Mark Hertsgaard recommended we keep an eye out for Mary Pipher’s new book The Green Boat – Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture.

The book explores the growing prevalence of climate grief (and anger) that activists are experiencing as years turn into decades without much progress in stemming what increasingly looks like catastrophic impacts within the next 50 years.  Pipher also examines the frustrating phenomenon of denial and why so many humans refuse to acknowledge what is underway and do anything to counteract or prepare for it.

Pipher’s book is a personal story of her own struggle with climate grief and her ongoing “curative” of engaged activism in fighting the Keystone XL pipeline in her home state of Nebraska.  She’s a psychotherapist and author of many books, so of course her instinct was to research, analyze, and share her findings about the “trauma to transcendence” cycle.

Late this summer we organized a book circle for about a dozen local female sustainability activists to explore the themes of The Green Boat and share our own journeys and struggles with the emotions arising from climate change.  Such a rich discussion!  After two sessions, we agreed to create an ongoing venue of support for activists on the first Sunday of the month, hosted by Jalaja Bonheim, author and founder of the Institute for Circlework.  To learn more, contact

Sustainable Tompkins would like to support members who would like to organize and host a book circle on The Green Boat.  If interested, contact