Mini-Conference on COVID and Sustainable Transitions

On May 27th, Future Earth Knowledge-Action Network on Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production will host a mini zoom conference on COVID-19 and Sustainability Transitions. RSVP here to register and to receive the required Zoom link. As a part of this Mini-Conference, participants are invited to share a visual representation accompanied with a text description of their hopes and inspirations, lives, or experiences of sustainability transitions in the era of COVID-19. Click the link to submit an image or video (up to 5). Once you upload your images feel free to leave a comment about where the picture/video was taken or anything else you would like to share! Please also include your name and current location.

Healthy Food For All helps Local Farmers and Food Insecure

Healthy Food for All, a project of Cornell Cooperative Extension is boxing up packages of fresh food for over 600 families in need to help those suffering with economic effects of the COVID crisis. Grant money is being used to pay local farmers for packages and are being distributed to food-insecure community members in Tompkins County. To request a box of produce and pantry items, sign-up here. To support the project and help provide fresh produce and pantry boxes for neighbors in need, make a donation directly on Healthy Food For All’s website. 100% of donations will go towards compensating local farmers for the food. Gifts to both the United Way and Community Foundations COVID-19 funds are also still being accepted. Donors can give through the United Way of Tompkins County online by selecting “COVID-19 relief,” or by calling (607)500-GIVE, and through the Community Foundation by writing in “COVID-19 Response Fund” under “Fund Name” or by calling (607) 272-9333. To find out more about this great program, read the Ithaca Voice’s article.

Greenstar becomes “Food Hub”

Greenstar has recently sold The Space, to be eventually be used as some food/beverage/entertainment space, part of a larger project called “Agora”. However, because of the COVID crisis, that development will be put on hold for the time being. But for now, it’s being put to good use. According to the Ithaca Voice, “Thanks to some coordination between the new buyers and Tompkins County Legislator Anna Kelles, it’s being used in the short-term as a “Food Hub” by the Food Bank, meal and CSA delivery services, and other organizations working to prevent a hunger crisis in a time where thousands of households have lost their jobs in the wake of the COVID pandemic.” Read more about this transition here.

Help Invest Stimulus Money into Green New Deal

Billions of dollars are at stake in federal stimulus legislation, and we must make sure the money doesn’t end up in the coffers of fossil fuel companies.

Call Senator Schumer at 877-852-4710 and leave a message urging him to block a bailout of the oil & gas industry.

As our nation recovers and rebuilds from the pandemic, we must invest in programs that benefit people and the planet, including good green jobs in water infrastructure, not polluters.

As the Senate’s top Democrat, Schumer must lead the way in championing a Green New Deal and standing up to greedy corporations.

URGENT: Sign on to Oppose the Attempt to De-Fund NYS Clean Energy Programs

A letter to circulate to organizations in your network: Dear renewable energy and energy efficiency allies, It has been a while since we reached out to you about a major organizational sign-on letter, and we hope that this email finds you and your loved ones safe and with the resources that you need. As many of you know, Multiple Intervenors (an unincorporated group of large unnamed energy consumers with an undisclosed Board) has petitioned the Public Service Commission to stop collecting money for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs and to take the money NYSERDA is holding for such programs and use it to reduce energy bills. AGREE has written a comment in opposition to the petition, and we are inviting groups all over New York to sign on. There is a link to the text of our comment in the preamble of the sign-on form. There are better ways to make energy bills affordable, rather than the short-sighted effort to take money from public clean energy programs. (And those other efforts are underway in rate cases, through a different and more reasonable petition submitted by Public Utility Law Project citing numerous other sources of rate relief that is much needed, and with the rent/utility strike campaigns.) Multiple Intervenors has long opposed clean energy programs because their members (hidden from public view) don’t want to help pay for them. Their petition seeks to take advantage of the COVID-19 crisis to further their agenda of defunding these public programs. This “secret club” needs to be opposed. Please circulate the sign-on link to your organizational allies. Let’s drown their petition with opposition. The deadline for signing on is 5pm on Friday, May 15. Thank you! To learn more about this issue, read this Politico article.

CNY Food Access Resources

Friendship Donations Network has compiled a truly impressive and comprehensive list of all the programs, food pantries, etc that they donate fresh food to in Tompkins and neighboring counties, divided by day of the week! 😱🍓🥪🥗 On their website, they also have a list of other food-related resources in the region. Want to contribute? They are also accepting donations and looking for volunteers to help distribute. To learn more, visit their website.

Essential Building Equipment Funding Available

Empower Equity – EMPEQ, a NYSERDA-portfolio company focused on delivering equipment and project financing for commercial and industrial buildings, has broadened its portfolio with over $2 billion in available funding 💸💸💸. With this funding, EMPEQ can provide immediate financing, ranging from $10,000 to $10 million, for small- to mid-sized organizations to upgrade their essential building equipment—such as HVAC systems, chillers, and boilers—with new systems. They’re sealing the cracks! 👏👏👏 Bravo! Visit their website to learn more and click “APPLY” in the top toolbar to apply.

Loans Available from AFCU

Alternatives Federal Credit Union announces… the Community Assistance Loan Fund! They’re offering a 0% interest loan to offset the expenses that have accompanied COVID-19 💸💰🤩🥳 They’re offering Personal Loans up to $3,000 and Business, Non-profit, and Organizations Loans up to $8,000. Both members and non-members are encouraged to apply. Visit their website to learn more about your options or apply for a loan.

Chicken-Raising 101!

Raise some chickens! 🐓🐣✨Experienced Ithaca flock owner, Amanda Zerilli will teach you The City of Ithaca and the Villages of Dryden and Trumansburg allow residents to keep a small number of chickens in the back yard (check the specific municipal ordinances for any restrictions) with a permit and evidence of attending a class on raising chickens. This class meets that requirement and attendees will receive a letter from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County to give to their municipality. Cost is sliding scale, $0-$25/household, so pay if/what you can afford.

Op-Ed: Issues with Handling of Healthcare

Our current circumstances have many using a critical lens to look at our healthcare system and its fundamental shortcomings. Potential alternatives, such as the NY Health Act and Medicare for All, spark curiosity amongst many, including Tony Del Plato, a trustee for the Village of Interlaken and a business owner in Interlaken. Del Plato wrote an Op-Ed for the Finger Lakes Times on how New York State is handling (or neglecting to handle) healthcare around the pandemic and how they should be instead, arguing for a more affordable, functional, and better equipped healthcare system. Read the full Op-Ed here.

Tell NYS Comptroller: No Fossil Fuel Bailouts!

With the nation’s attention on the pandemic and the ensuing economic fallout, the fossil fuel industry is taking every opportunity to profit from disaster. They’ve lobbied for the EPA to loosen regulations and pushed forward pipelines like Keystone XL. And now they’re lobbying to ensure that coal, oil and gas companies receive a significant portion of the bailout funds meant for small businesses. They also want $3 billion that could go to COVID-19 relief to be used to purchase oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. It is critical that we push back.

Please join a nationwide effort to email Congress and demand that they oppose all efforts to bail out the fossil fuel industry. You can find your representatives here.

What to do: Call NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli at 518-474-4044 and urge him to divest the State Pension fund from fossil fuels. You can also tweet him at @TomDiNapoli or @NYSComptroller.

Phone Script: Please divest the NYS pension fund from fossil fuels. It is wrong to invest in companies that are destroying the planet and it is a risky financial investment. The state lost $500 million alone in its investment in Exxon last year. It is time to divest.

Sample Tweet: New York State has about $13 BILLION invested in fossil fuels. @NYSComptroller DiNapoli refuses to #DivestNY, no matter how many billions of dollars he loses. Call @TomDiNapoli at 518 474 4044. Divest now and save lives.

Thanks to Leslie Cagan at Peoples Climate Movement New York for sharing this message with us!

New Resources for Food Delivery and Safe Rides to Covid-19 Testing

Free and safe rides in a sanitized vehicle now are available for individuals scheduled for COVID-19 testing at the Cayuga Health Sampling Site located at The Shops at Ithaca Mall thanks to a group of transportation service providers and partner agencies including United Way of Tompkins County, Food Bank of the Southern Tier, Human Services Coalition, Tompkins County Health Department, TCAT, Center for Community Transportation and Way2Go. You must register for testing online or by calling 607-319-5708, then call 2-1-1 between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm to schedule a ride with ASAP cab company. This service is free of charge. For emergency or regular food delivery, individuals should call 2-1-1 between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm for assistance. Emergency food requests will be directed to the United Way of Tompkins County which is organizing deliveries from the food hub via Gadabout. Want to help? Volunteer to deliver goods by bicycle! You can be equipped with a bike delivery rig if needed. More info is available on the Bike Walk Tompkins website. For more info, contact Norma Gutierrez at by email or by phone at (607) 272-2292 ext 162 (Voicemail #248).

Your Help is Needed on the Renewable Heat Front!

What you can do to help: Submit a comment today to the Public Service Commission telling them to stop the gas infrastructure buildout and help with the conversion to renewable heat now. The Commission’s staff will soon release a detailed proposal for a new gas planning policy. This will determine the future of heat in New York. We need your action to make sure the future of heat is renewable energy, not more gas pipelines. We need your voice now to help hold the utilities accountable for reducing reliance on global-warming, health-and-environment-destroying fracked gas and moving toward renewable heat – NOW!
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