It’s May already! This month, see some democracy-themed art, pick up some free compost, or learn to raise backyard chickens. See the calendar here!
This Saturday, April 30th, the last reactor at the Indian Point nuclear plant will shut down for good. This closure was hard won after decades of activism by dozens of organizations* and thousands of individuals. Indian Point needs to close because it poses a threat to the safety, health, and environment of downstate New York. Here are some events you can attend to celebrate this victory…
With the in-person New York Geothermal Energy Organization conference moved to next spring, organizers decided to convert the 2021 “Electrify with Heat Pumps” conference content into a series of 27 weekly webinars at noon on Tuesdays.
8 BILLION ANGELS weaves together the voices of people around the world as they confront the growing impact of overpopulation on their lives and the planet. It dispels the misperceptions that technology can save us, that reducing consumption is the answer, and that the blame lies solely in the developing world.
Starting Wednesday, April 21, the Sanctuary for Independent Media presents the North Troy Environmental Justice Film Festival celebrating grassroots activism! From April 21st through May 5th, there will be online screenings and workshops highlighting struggles of people from Cohoes, NY to Arica, Chile!
Join System Change Not Climate Change this Saturday, April 24th at 1:00pm for an in-depth conversation with two leaders of DSA’s Green New Deal and PRO Act Campaign. Learn why they are calling on ecosocialists and climate activists to fight alongside unionists to win major changes to the nation’s labor laws.
TCAT General Manager Scot Vanderpool along with state and local representatives will provide brief comments for the first half of the event, until about 11:00am when TCAT will offer free rides on the new buses from neighboring Seneca St. Station around the Commons.
NYSEG Smart Solutions brings you products that can save you money and energy all year long. Check out Earth Month discounts on their top smart thermostats and energy saving products to make a lasting change today!
Tonight at 7pm – Join Tom Snyder, Director of Programming and Conservation Action of the Seneca Park Zoo Society (of Rochester), as he explains the benefits of planting native on your property and around your town. Learn how native species are more robust, improve human health, and make for healthier lawns.
A series of studies on some of the most studied toxic chemicals have found that the risk of death and disease is proportionately greater at lower exposures. That’s why we need to achieve near-zero exposures to protect public health. Join Bruce Lanphear, MD, MPH for a free webinar on April 20th at 12:00pm.
WATKINS GLEN, Apr. 16, 2021 — “Bitcoin mining interests have called Watkins Glen officials in recent weeks to explore the possibility of setting up a cryptocurrency processing operation within the village to take advantage of its cheap electric rates.
Good news! Affordable internet access is a basic utility that must be provided to all residences (for no more than $15 a month). Read more about this development here.
Celebrate Earth Day (Thursday, April 22nd) with a virtual trivia event hosted by Kenneth McLaurin and SingTrece from 7:00-8:30pm. Join various Tompkins County organizations in testing our collective climate knowledge while celebrating local connection, solidarity, and action. Between trivia questions, we’ll share information about local efforts to strengthen human and environmental health and liberation, and how you can get involved. Prizes will be provided by your favorite local businesses. Register here!
“A Pig and a Garden: Fannie Lou Hamer, Agricultural Cooperatives and the Black Freedom Movement” – Mon. April 19th
Dr. Monica White is the author of Freedom Farmers, Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement and an associate professor of Environmental Justice at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She will be delivering a virtual keynote address (via Zoom) at 4:00 pm on Monday, April 19th.
In the face of our four current crises – COVID-19, systemic racism, economic disruption, and the climate emergency – we must begin reaching across silos to address our shared challenges. In this discussion, we’ll explore the forces that cause and contribute to institutional silos and ways to recognize them both within and between our organizations. We’ll also examine some of the skills and tools essential to reaching across silos and begin building mutually beneficial, sustainable partnerships.
From fertilizer runoff to road salt, what happens to our roadside ditches ultimately happens to our precious Finger Lakes. As we further explore and combat harmful algae blooms in our area, it’s important that we take into consideration EVERYTHING going into the lake.
Join NY Renews tonight at 7:00pm for a town hall with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris to talk about the THRIVE Agenda and the CCIA. And they’ll be spending most of the time taking questions directly from YOU. New Yorkers need a real recovery NOW, at every level of government! Click here for details and to register.
As Earth Day approaches, Religious leaders representing over 400,000 people of faith across upper NY state signed on to a statement calling for a transition away from fossil fuels. Join dozens of places of worship in the CNY region for a press conference via Zoom, called “Religious Leaders Support Transition Off of Fossil Fuels” on Monday, April 19th at 2:00pm.
Next Thursday, April 15th at 1:00pm, join the Environmental Policy Innovation Center (EPIC) via Zoom for “Tackling the Lead Dilemma in Small Municipalities: A Closer Look into Lead Service Line Replacement Programs, Funding, and Inventorying in Small Municipalities.” The speakers will share lessons learned and best practices on lead service line replacement in smaller municipalities (with populations of roughly 5,000-35,000). During this webinar, EPIC will also share information about a new incentive program, the Lead-Free Water Challenge, that will assist small municipalities with lead service line replacement.
Residents living along streams and other waterbodies are encouraged to participate in the DEC’s “Buffer in a Bag” program. The goal of the Buffer in a Bag program is to increase forested riparian buffers across the state by encouraging landowners to undertake small-scale plantings. Streamside plantings help decrease erosion, slow floodwaters, and protect fish and wildlife habitat.
Free Webinar on Reuse & Repair: Creating New Jobs and Enterprises through Zero Waste – Wed., April 7 at 2 pm
Around the country, businesses with a social mission are turning reuse, repair, and deconstruction into engines of job creation and job training for hard-to-employ populations, while also achieving meaningful environmental goals. Some of these businesses have been credited with reducing the recidivism of formerly incarcerated employees to practically zero. Come learn about deconstruction/salvaging, which creates jobs, reduces waste, and saves money!
The film THE STORY OF PLASTIC is a battle cry for the current movement to reduce plastic pollution, and a reality check for the narrative around plastics by revealing how the entire production system pollutes and marginalizes communities, long before plastic pollution makes its way into the ocean. It was called “the most important documentary of the year” by Indie NYC. Register here for free!
Please call Cuomo’s office and put pressure on him and the DEC to protect quality of life and our local economy in the Finger Lakes. WE RESIST BEING A SACRIFICE ZONE FOR WALL STREET! Call him today at 518-474-8390 and tell him he can make it up to his constituents by getting involved and telling Wall Street and greedy outside corporations to take a hike. Our lakes can’t take any more human pressure on them – especially for something as wasteful as bitcoins.
Yes, you read that right! A lucky winner will go home with a 2020 Tesla Model 3, ($36,000) ARV, in the Friends of Rogers Electric Car Raffle 2021. Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $25, 15 for $50, 35 for $100 or 200 for $500 and benefit Friends of Rogers Environmental Education Center.
Each spring and fall, VINES select a limited number of households to receive either a raised bed built in their backyard or up to 10 grow bags. Anyone who lives in the City of Binghamton, Johnson City, Endwell, or Endicott is eligible for the program. More information on eligibility and the program in general can be found here.
Join the League of Women Voters of Tompkins County (LWVTC) at 7:00 PM TOMORROW (Thursday March 11), for a virtual Candidates’ Debate between Leslie Schill and Veronica Pillar. They are running for the special election taking place on March 23rd, for Tompkins County Legislative District 2.
Good news: Canandaigua, Rochester, Geneva, Brighton, Irondequoit, Pittsford, Penfield, Lima, Brockport, Victor are all adopting a CCA(Community Choice Aggregation), making renewable energy the default choice – And it seems as though Ithaca is next! So what could this mean for the Finger Lakes as a whole?
Many municipalities in our area, including Geneva, Canandaigua, Victor, Brighton, Irondequoit, and Pittsford have now joined a CCA (Community Choice Aggregation) program, which acquires 100% renewable, fixed rate electricity. Wondering how to switch your home energy and car needs away from fossil fuels to electric?
Habitat for Humanity of Tompkins & Cortland Counties is holding an open application period from January 15th – April 15th 2021. The selected homebuyer family would partner with Habitat and White Hawk Ecovillage Community, Inc in Danby to build a modest, efficient, and ecologically minded home in the White Hawk Community. The family will work alongside TCHFH’s staff and volunteers, including White Hawk members, to build their home.
“GreenStar Food Coop, with over 200 employees, has become the largest Living Wage Certified employer in Tompkins County that is not a government organization. The Tompkins County Living Wage is currently $15.37/hour, and there are now 124 certified employers”, the Tompkins County Workers Center reports, for whom this is a major victory. Read more about it here. Like the sound of this? Check out the full list of Living Wage employers (including Sustainable Tompkins!), and sign the petition for a county-wide living minimum wage (right now, it’s $15.37 in Tompkins County, and calculated every two years by Alternatives Federal Credit Union).
Tomorrow (Friday) kicks off the beginning of a 3-day climate summit! It’s 100% virtual & 100% free to all! Featuring… University of Rochester alumni, students, staff and professors, local activists and community organizations, officials from all levels of NY government, including Representative Joseph Morelle. Click here to learn more & register.
Help reduce waste, protect the environment and improve gardens by teaching others to compost in Tompkins County! Join other enthusiastic volunteers for 10 in-depth classes and 20 hours of practical learning outside of class. Classes cover a variety of compost and education topics that will prepare you to become a compost educator in Tompkins County. The 20 hours of training outside of class include hands-on composting, teaching or assisting at classes, researching compost topics, and designing an independent volunteer project. After training, use your new compost know-how and teaching experience to help others in the community.
On February 16, one of the richest men on earth, Bill Gates, will release his vision of climate solutions in his new book, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster”. Climate change is one of the crises used by Gates and his Foundation to justify urgent, technocratic “solutions” for altering food systems around the world. In response, AGRA Watch aims to amplify the work of social movements organizing in Seattle and around the world for Climate Justice. To counter top-down, billionaire expertise as the means of solving our world’s most pressing issues, panelists will present an alternative approach centered on Food Sovereignty, with communities leading the way to a climate just future.
The Community Science Institute (CSI) will be hosting a free online webinar: “Patterns of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and Associated Toxins in Cayuga Lake: Findings from Three Years of Bloom Monitoring.” This free webinar will take place on Saturday, February 27th at 1:00 PM. Registration is required.
On February 21st, from 10:30am – 12:00pm, the Tompkins County Age-Friendly Center for Excellence will hold it’s next workshop in a series called, “A Unifying Framework for Post-COVID Recovery.” A new virtual workshop will be held every month from now through May. This month’s event is called: “What is Age-Friendly Anyways? How it benefits Agencies, Residents, Visitors, and Businesses.” Register here!
February is here! Fend off the winter blues with some movement-building activities. But not to worry; most of these activities are virtual, meaning you can stay cozy and safe while learning, growing, and helping your community. Join the White Fragility book club that meets every Sunday, or attend the Envision Climate Summit – a 3 day event comprised of talks, panels, & workshops. Maybe even learn a new skill, like Woodland Mushroom Cultivation! Visit the Sustainable Finger Lakes Calendar to browse this month’s offerings and click the link under each event for more details.
This evening at 7:00pm EST the Green New Deal Network will host: “100 Days for Climate, Jobs, and Justice: Winning the THRIVE (Transform, Heal, & Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy) Agenda” – a bold economic recovery plan to address the intersecting crises facing our nation. Sign up for tonight’s livestream here!
Think Spring! Starting February 1st, the Wells College Seed Exchange program will open for the 2021 season. All seed is available for free and will be available while supplies last. But don’t delay – once the exchange opens, the seed stock disperses quickly. Check out our Wells College Seed Exchange and get growing!
According to WaterFront, “For several years, CLEAN, independent scientists, the Town of Ithaca and other neighboring municipalities have raised concerns about a potential catastrophic roof collapse at Cargill Cayuga. Even so, the past five New York State governors have not required the company to provide an environmental impact statement for its sub-lake mining.”
Despite the challenges we currently face in shifting our industries away from pollutive, extractive, and destructive practices, living more sustainably is much easier than you think. Be sure to check out the new Green Tips page for tips on how to practice sustainability as an individual, and as a community. Categories include Energy, Waste, Transportation, Food, Household Products, Water Protection, and Yard & Garden.
Through a series of eight online training sessions, Navigators will learn about programs and incentives that exist to help others make positive changes in their life! Topics include understanding energy bills, home energy efficiency, renewable heating, solar energy, transportation alternatives, and more. Applications are due Friday, March 19th, and online training begins on Wednesday, April 14th, 2021.
‘You’ve famously said: “When I hear the words climate change, I hear jobs.” We agree. While the climate crisis presents incredible challenges, it is also the greatest economic opportunity for innovation, job creation, new businesses, and investment in our communities. It goes hand in hand with restoring justice and building an equitable, inclusive, and just future for all.”‘
The founders of Life After Hate are former extremists, committed to helping people leave the violent far-right to connect with humanity and lead compassionate lives. Read their guide for advice on engaging with these people in your life in a constructive way.
On Friday, January 22nd, hear from four panelists as they discuss the impact the pandemic has had on the immigrants and refugees of our community. Previous FORUMS are now on video too, including those on mental health, funding change, adaption of arts, housing, isolation, and more in a time of COVID.
The Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) announced the opening of the Warren D. Allmon Changing Climate: Our Future, Our Choice Exhibit – including a permanent exhibit at the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, as well as an online version that can be accessed anywhere in the world. As of December 26th, the physical exhibit is now open. Some features of this new exhibit include a feedback station where visitors can voice their opinions, a digital map that lets you explore energy sources across the U.S., and a miniature house where you can make energy choices and calculate its carbon footprint. The Museum of the Earth is limiting the number of visitors inside, so be sure to make a reservation to secure your spot! Read the full article by the Ithaca Times to learn more.
In January, 2021 Climate Solutions Accelerator will host a free, three-part online series of facilitated discussion on Ibram X. Kendi’s How To Be An Antiracist (Wednesday evenings Jan.13, 20, 27 from 6:30-8:00 pm).
“A coalition of environmental groups (including Food & Water Watch, NYPIRG, and more) is mounting a campaign for a statewide ban on the spreading of brine from oil and gas wells on roads for deicing or dust control”. These products are waste products from fracking and, thanks to a new law, can legally be used for these purposes, despite their poisonous properties.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County is now accepting applications for the 2021 CCETC Master Gardener Volunteer Training (MGVT) Program! Applications are due by Wednesday, January 6th. Alternate payment options and scholarships are available!
This coming January, a municipal transfer station with on-site organics management (aka composting!), called the Geneva Resource Recovery Park, is coming to Geneva, NY! This center is brought to you by Closed Loop Systems, a local company that designs, builds, operates, and maintains customized resource recovery facilities for municipal, agricultural, industrial, and institutional clients. Their mission is to replenish global topsoil using waste! They also engage in advocacy work and education around healthy soil and the importance of the soil food web.
Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE) — headquartered in Syracuse, NY within the unceded territory of the Onondaga Nation and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy — works to bring about a just transition to 100% renewable electricity, heating, and transportation. And they’re looking for two new team members: a Deputy Policy Director and an Events and Communications Manager!
When you make a donation in a loved one’s name, you will receive a holiday card that you can give to them, letting them know that you made a donation in their honor. We are offering a range of small gift options to make it easy for everyone to show their love by supporting others in our community.
Are you or someone you know in need of a new heating system, and on a modest income? NYSERDA is spending 5 million dollars giving away 500 heat pump systems! Participating contractors are available to install either geothermal or air source heat pump systems in income-qualified homes as part of a short-term study at little to no cost to the homeowner (renters qualify too!). Those making under 60% median income can get air-source heat pumps installed for free. If your home needs insulation, they will also do that first. This money will go very quickly! Get enrolled today!
The “Reimagining Public Safety Collaborative” recently took questions from the public about Police Reform at a County & City Hall meeting via Zoom. County Sheriff Derek Osborne, Ithaca Police Chief Dennis Nayor, Mayor Svante Myrick, and County Administrator Jason Molino joined Dominique Johnson from the Center for Policing Equity for a candid discussion. One key takeaway was that county officials believe that working groups with carefully selected staff could facilitate suggestions for reform from the public, rather than placing the responsibility on the public to figure out the intricacies. Mayor Myrick shared that he plans to first build up alternatives and community organizations, then cut police funding by a 20% – 40% margin once that infrastructure is in place. Missed it? Watch the video on Youtube, or read the full article by the Ithaca Times.
New York State is practically giving away 500 heat pump systems! Participating contractors are available to install either geothermal or air source heat pump systems in income-qualified homes as part of a short-term study at little to no cost to the homeowner. If you know of someone who might be interested in this opportunity, please share.
Big news today! New York State just became the largest pension fund in the world to take comprehensive climate action, including fossil fuel divestment. The $226 billion state pension fund will review and divest from the riskiest oil and gas companies within 4 years and decarbonize the entire fund by 2040. This came after years of campaigning by the DivestNY coalition.
Achieving carbon neutrality in the building sector will require converting 100% of the fuels used for heating and cooling to zero carbon sources. Most technology applications to date have been implemented on a building-by-building basis, an approach that tends to limit the speed of transition, reduce efficiency gains, and depress the participation of low-income residents. A possible alternative is for an energy utility to transition an entire street to networked geothermal, which has potential for lower costs, greater efficiency, and improved air quality.
The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) today approved a precedent-setting agreement hammered out between grassroots environmental groups, the NYSEG and RG&E utilities, and energy regulators to stop growing gas sales and turn toward renewable heating alternatives, while keeping gas rate increases low. The PSC additionally agreed with grassroots environmentalists and consumer advocates that the utilities’ proposed electric rate increases were too high and ruled to reduce them to 2% per year or less.
Groundswell, Center for Local Food & Farming in Ithaca, has announced a Farmer Training Program for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color that will launch this coming Spring. Visit their website to learn more about this program and how to apply. Deadline is December 15th! In addition, they are looking to hire a Bookkeeper (Deadline: November 29th) and Communications Intern (Deadline: January 18th). They are also looking to fill some Leadership Committee seats. Don’t want to be behind a desk? Check out their on-farm volunteer opportunities. You can find all of these listings on their Employment page.
New York State’s 22-member Climate Action Council, established under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, will hold a meeting to continue its work on a statewide scoping plan to guide New York State toward its nation-leading climate goals. Members of the public are welcome to listen to the meeting via webcast on Tuesday, November 24, 2020, 2:00 p.m.– 5:00 p.m.
Through the end of the year, NYSERDA is offering increased incentives for income-eligible households to insulate homes, seal air leaks, and replace inefficient equipment. There are also generous rebates and grants for installing high-efficiency heat pumps that provide heating and cooling, and which can replace furnaces and boilers that burn fossil fuels, as well as affordable options for going solar.
Filmmaker, Sanjay Rawal, tells the stories of Native Americans and their food systems. Given all the problems of our current American food system, Rawal explains how we can use Indigenous knowledge and values to grow an abundance of healthy food that helps meet our needs in a way that is respecting of the Earth, and…
Cornell Professor, Max Zhang, recieved a $200,000 grant, “aimed at determining efficient solar farm array configurations to avoid land-use conflicts or spoiling precious agricultural space”. More specifically, he plans to focus on 10 different land sites in New York State, to measure the viability of agrovoltaics – using land for both agriculture and solar arrays. Zhang’s research will provide scientific insight to policymakers as they make blueprints for the energy transition of the century. Read more about this story in the Cornell Chronicle.
The expanded Budget, Capital, and Personnel Committee of the Tompkins County Legislature voted on Tuesday, October 27 to create a Chief Sustainability Officer position. The Legislators unanimously approved an amendment to the 2021 budget adding the position.
Auburn City Council and Owasco Town Board both approved new rules and regulations to protect the Owasco Lake Watershed at a special joint meeting this past Thursday. The meeting was to continue the work started in 2017 to update enforceable regulations – the first time since 1984. Public opinion seems to be split between environmentalists, and farmers wary of profit loss due to accommodations that are now required. Read the full article to learn more.
The Martins and Oechsners have led the way on organic grain growing in the Northeast – and are proving what systems thinking can do to survive climate disruption. Our Farmers in Flux: Adapting to Climate Change is a new documentary on how local farmers like them are adapting to climate change, made by a dear friend of Sustainable Tompkins, Shira Evergreen, and produced by the Tracy Mitrano campaign. The 23-minute documentary gives a behind the scenes look at the priceless work they do, and features tons of stunning birds-eye view drone footage of the Finger Lakes. Bravo, Shira!
DEC Seeks to Modify Cargill’s Cayuga Salt Mine Permit While Its Subject to Pending Legal Appeal; Will Court Take Notice?
“For years, independent geologists have warned that bedrock separating the mine from the lake runs dangerously thin in northern sections of the mine. They say that as miners continue to push north, a catastrophic breach grows increasingly likely.” Read more at Water Front.
The New York State League has successfully settled a lawsuit to allow voters to address and correct issues with their absentee ballots. New York voters will also now be protected from having their ballots thrown out for small technical issues. For the upcoming election, voters will be given five to seven days (depending on the date of receipt of the ballot) to verify their identity and fix any problems with their ballot after being notified by the Board of Elections. Visit the League of Women’s Voters of New York State’s website to read more about the details of this great news! Please consider making a donation to the League so that they can educate voters on these new changes.
A group of Yates County residents has asked state environmental regulators to modify, suspend or revoke Greenidge Generation’s operating permits to reflect the power plant’s rapidly developing role as an off-the-grid data center that “mines” Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency”. Bitcoin mining is an energy-intensive activity, and one with major environmental impacts involved.
To learn more, read this article by Peter Mantius.
“The New York State Department of Health has taken the final step to establish drinking water standards for three toxic chemicals that have polluted water in communities across the state. In doing so, New York leads the nation with some of the most stringent drinking water protections for PFOA and PFOS (part of a broader class of PFAS chemicals), and the only drinking water standard for 1,4-dioxane”…
While most booths are now full with vendors and some other COVID-19 related restrictions have been loosened, Ithaca Farmers Market is still enforcing their own rules to minimize risk and help visitors to feel more safe. The market is following a slow-reopen plan, so you can check in on this page of their website (which is updated regularly) if you are planning a visit to see how restrictions have changed. is Read the Ithaca Voice article here.
After a six month hiatus, the pantry, located at 113 Geneva Street is now open to the public every Tuesday from 1 to 2 p.m. Fresh produce from Stick & Stone Farm is available every week in addition to other pantry items. New COVID-19 precautions have been put in place to protect both recipients and their older volunteers. Read the Ithaca Voice article here to learn more about their reopening, and visit their website to learn more about the pantry itself.
Join Vermont Law School’s the Environmental Law Center for the Hot Topics Lecture Series. Thursday, July 30th at 12pm ET is a talk by Maya van Rossum about Green Amendments and their legal implications in defending our environment. This event is free and open to the public. Livestream here! To learn more about Green Amendments, visit For the Generations’ website.
The Public Service Center has proudly supported the local community through tutoring and other academic programs for almost 30 years. In our best effort to continue supporting the needs of our community, we have established a new virtual tutoring program as a response to the cancellation of in-person tutoring opportunities. The Supportive Tutoring for Area Youth (STAY) program is offering free, remote tutoring by Cornell students for grades K through 12 in a variety of subjects based on students’ needs.
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, 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Did you know that you can now buy trash disposal punch cards and coupons, solid waste permits, and more without leaving your home? RecycleTompkins.org has a Shop Online feature!
The City of Ithaca enacted a hiring freeze this week, putting the newly created Director of Sustainability position, which would have started in early May, on pause for the foreseeable future. The new director was supposed to create an action plan for implementing an Ithaca Green New Deal, which would aim to create a carbon-neutral city by 2030, amongst other ambitious goals. A global conversation has ensued surrounding the necessary transition to more sustainable and just practices and infrastructure in the realms of energy & climate, economy, healthcare, etc, in response to COVID-19. It seems that the time is now to reimagine the structure of society on all levels, so this news is rather disappointing. What steps do you think the city should take moving forward? Read the Ithaca Voice article for more details about this news.
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Ithaca Farmer’s Market opened this weekend to the public, with some added precautions to keep vendors and customers more safe. According to the Ithaca Voice, “The market is scheduled to return for its spring market on Saturdays in April at the Steamboat Landing pavilion, with shortened hours of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The pavilion has 88 booths, but this month the vendor capacity will be capped at 40 –– with vendors spaced out in every other booth. The shorter hours and the empty booths will allow more room for customers to navigate the shopping area with the suggested 6 feet distance between patrons.” In addition, the market has been equipped with hand sanitizer stations and has outlined some guidelines for customers to follow, to make for the safest experience for all parties involved. To learn more about what this means for you, read this article by the Ithaca Voice and see guidelines on the Ithaca Farmer’s Market website.
A “net zero energy residential housing development” may be coming to the Village of Lansing in the near future if approved by the Planning Board. The housing complex would consist of 43 homes powered by solar energy and heat pumps, a project of The Solar Home Factory, a company based in Geneva. The houses would be clustered to preserve green space and minimize encroachment onto wetlands, and would be compliant with CLCPA [New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act]. Read more about this exciting plan here!
Protesters took the streets in Ithaca to oppose the Coastal GasLink pipeline construction through Indigenous unceded land in “British Columbia”. Police blockades on both Green Street and Cayuga Street last Wednesday morning caused major delays for travelers, some of which were exiting their vehicles to confront the protestors. To read more about the protest, see Anna Lamb’s Ithaca Voice report. Want to get in on the action? Visit the Wet’suwet’en solidarity coordinating facebook page. For updates from the frontline, see the Unist’ot’en Camp Facebook page and the Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidimt’en Territory Facebook page. To donate, and for all the info you could ever need, visit their websites.
30 U.S. senators, including local NY Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, have signed a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler asking them to implement the 2019 PFAS mitigation plan, made over a year ago. High PFAS are thought to be, at least in part, attributed to firefighting foam used by the town of Romulus for nearly 60 years, which ran off into the water. PFAS have been linked to birth defects, cancer, and other health risks, which raises concern for communities around Seneca Lake. Read more in the Finger Lake Times. Photo credits: Finger Lake Times.
A new round of training will be starting up in the Spring of 2020–the fifth year! Energy Navigators help Tompkins County residents learn about ways to reduce (and eliminate) their fossil fuel use, and transition to renewable forms of heating and powering their homes and transportation. Navigators go through a ten-session training, and volunteer through public outreach and by sharing information with friends, family, neighbors and others in their networks.
The City of Ithaca is seeking a Director of Sustainability to launch the City in an organizational transformation initiative to meet the goals of the City’s Green New Deal. The successful individual will have experience with issues surrounding climate change, be a strong visionary with deep commitment to environmental justice and advancing social equity through environmental stewardship, public health, and sustainable urban development.
Applications are due February 10.
With so many proposed plans, it is hard to differentiate the pros and cons. Dr. Brian Coyne, a federal health care lobbyist, will compare the various national health care proposals (ACA, Medicare for All, Medicare by Choice, Public Option, etc). A representative from New York Health Care Plan will present that version of a State based health care system.
Gerri Wiley of Owego, NY has done everyone in the NYSEG service territory the wonderful service of investigating and evaluating the companies who are offering solar, wind, hydro, or biogas generated electricity for sale. You can sign up every year with a supplier, and Gerri updates her database every month to let you know what is on offer through the ESCOs (electricity suppliers) or which regional community solar farm you can sign up with for your electricity account. Check it out here!
The Seneca Park Zoo’s Environmental Innovation Awards celebrate leadership in environmental stewardship, raising the profile of innovative companies and people working to solve complex environmental problems in the Rochester and Finger Lakes Region. Awards were given in five categories: Youth, Individual, Civic & Nonprofit, Small Business, and Large Business. Check out these local innovators here! 🤩🌍✨ Congrats winners!
Two new low-carbon transport investments in Penn Yan this week: a horse shelter and a car charging station at the public library! Mennonite community members are frequent library users, and the new horse shelter will afford them additional convenience while accessing library resources. The new additions will join the existing bike rack and bike repair station, providing a diverse array of transportation assistance options for community members. Read more here.
Perdita Flats, a multifamily project in Ithaca, NY, has won $70,560 in NYSERDA’s Building’s of Excellence competition! A project of Taitem Engineering and STREAM Collaborative architecture + landscape architecture, the building design will demonstrate the viability of a ZERO ENERGY building for a multi-family development, AND will provide data on the building’s construction and operation to NYSERDA for sharing as part of its efforts to promote high-performing buildings in NYS. Congrats to them! Read more here.
A proposed galvanizing mill at the Seneca Lake Depot property (abandoned US military depot) presents another threat to Seneca Lake because of both potential leakage of zinc from the facility, and concerns with future Phase 2 and 3 of the project, a milling and welding facility. Seneca County IDA and the town of Romulus are being urged to address the areas of concern prior to making any approvals of the proposed plant. To learn more, read the Finger Lakes Times article.
Summary Job Description: This position will work closely with Groundswell’s Executive Director and staff, and a Project Advisory Team to develop, coordinate and teach many of Groundswell Center’s farmer training programs including a 6-month Farmer Training Practicum, technical workshops and an annual farm business course. Integrating input from multiracial stakeholders in program development and designing these programs with and for marginalized and aspiring growers who often experience barriers to these opportunities is an essential component to this position.
Federal, State, and utility incentives have never been as good as they are right now to make heat pumps affordable. There are additional incentives to help low and moderate income families. Please come for a presentation and discussion on home insulation and heat pump options for heating and cooling.
The Next Storm is a dark and humorous look at the impact that the climate crisis has had on our community. Set in the not-so-distant-future, the story follows an ensemble of characters as they face the struggle between apathy, anger, and action. Who gets to decide the course forward and what are we willing to sacrifice? What happens when students and bureaucrats, parents and developers, idealists and realist come head to head over the best course toward climate resiliency?
Tim and Katherine Clymer, owners of Threefold Farm in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, will lead this workshop. Threefold Farm is a transitional organic orchard specializing in unusual fruits. The concept behind a climate battery greenhouse is to use the earth beneath as a sort of “thermal battery” for storing excess heat generated by the structure.
Thursday, Oct 3rd 5:30pm-7:30pm
Groundswell Center Incubator Farm
101 Rachel Carson Way
Join Groundswell for their last farm tour and volunteer night of the season at the Incubator Farm. After a 30 min tour of the farm, they will lend a hand at Surik’s orchard, preparing it for the winter season!
On Thursday, October 17, Wells College’s Wells Center for Sustainability and the Environment will be hosting a free, public talk by Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, Project Drawdown’s VP for Communications and Engagement, who was one of the principal authors of the book of the same name.
Schuyler County officials assure that test results received for Seneca Lake water are not necessarily reliable, and that the county will conduct their own tests in the near future. Mary Anne Kowalski, SLG’s research director, likened the tests to do-it-yourself home radon kits, and she acknowledged that the results are neither state-certified nor legally binding.
Public drinking water in Watkins Glen, Montour Falls and Seneca County contains elevated levels of the cancer-linked PFAS class of chemicals found in dozens of stain-repellent household products like Teflon and Scotchguard, recent tests show.
Victory for Finger Lakes protection activists! A coal plant, owned by Heorot Power, on the shores of Cayuga Lake in North Lansing has ceased power generation this past week after 64 years of coal-burning. Plans for the existing building are still being deliberated, as ideas to convert the facility to burn natural gas or a data center were shot down. Heorot’s VP, Jerry Goodenough, said the company will monitor the leftover coal ash landfill for 30 years and has set aside a $7-million bond for remediation. To learn more, click here.
This October 28th, a professional business event will be held to provide engineers, contractors, developers, architects, energy consultants, bankers and others involved in the building trade an opportunity to learn about the latest advances in non-fossil fuel energy solutions and how they can be integrated into new and existing building projects. The show will also feature a full day of seminars with nationally-recognized expert speakers who will present on various types of non-fossil fuel sustainable energy systems, advanced construction techniques and financing options. Breakfast and lunch are included with your registration and a MacBook Air will be given to a lucky attendee! For more info, go here.
Clean, renewable heating and cooling systems are smart, healthy alternatives that will:
*Keep your space comfortable year round
*Lower your energy usage
*Reduce your carbon footprint
Get PUMPED, y’all! In just a week (September 7th, from 10am – 12pm) Solar Tompkins and HeatSmart Tompkins is holding another home tour, where you can learn about how switching to an energy efficient and cost effective heat pump has been a total game-changer for a family in Groton, NY. Can’t make it? There will be a presentation the next day (Sept. 8th from 2-4pm) at the Ithaca Waldorf School! Swing through! For more info on the home tour, click here and here for more info on the presentation!
Congratulations to Tilden Chao and Abigail Glickman of Keep it Cool Tompkins! for their well attended summit on green refrigeration May 23 in Ithaca. Their panel of speakers did a great job covering from the basics of refrigerants in heat pumps and other compressors to the alarming predictions if we don’t get it together to cool our food and our buildings and our cars without further exacerbating climate change and ozone depletion. Tilden and Abigail won the first Youth Climate Challenge grant from Sustainable Tompkins for their project.
US Green Building Council Upstate NY Chapter and Corning Inc. to host ‘Save the Rain’ on June 3 in Ithaca. Syracuse NY implemented this successful comprehensive stormwater management plan that reduced pollution in Onondaga Lake over the past decade. With harmful algae blooms (HABs) threatening all of our Finger Lakes, every municipality needs to consider green infrastructure for slowing and cleaning stormwater runoff into our streams and lakes. Register here. US Green Building Council Upstate NY Chapter and Corning Inc. to host ‘Save the Rain’ on June 3 in Ithaca. Syracuse NY implemented this successful comprehensive stormwater management plan that reduced pollution in Onondaga Lake over the past decade. With harmful algae blooms (HABs) threatening all of our Finger Lakes, every municipality needs to consider green infrastructure for slowing and cleaning stormwater runoff into our streams and lakes.