Sustainability Events & Initiatives from Across the Region

Downtown Ithaca Survey

Share your voice on the future of our downtown Ithaca! Take their short survey to help shape the Downtown Plan Draft Recommendations. Survey link: https://tinyurl.com/IthacaDTPlan Can’t access the survey online? Printed surveys are available at Tompkins County Public Library and City Hall. Join them at an Open House on May 2 at Tompkins County Public…

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Reuse Center Contest

How do you ReUse? Submit a brief video, photos, or quote telling them how you celebrate Earth Day every day through reuse, whether it’s through creative reuse projects or items you reuse in your home or office. Three entries will win a ReUse gift card!

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A stall at the Freeville Farmers' Market, a market founded with support from a Neighborhood Mini-Grant. Photo provided.

Neighborhood Mini-Grants Build Sustainability, Equity, and Resilient Communities

(Tompkins Weekly, 3-13-24, by Sasha Paris) Humans and “the environment” that sustains us are not separate. Environmental damage, economic inequity, and social injustice are interwoven in many ways, and their solutions must be as well. This is the philosophy of Sustainable Finger Lakes, carried out in our work, including our Neighborhood Mini-Grant program. Since 2008,…

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League of Women Voters of Tompkins County Presents…

FRACKING WITH CO2: Examining the Plan for the Southern Tier With Irene Weiser.  Retired veterinarian, 3-term town council member, Coordinator of Fossil Free Tompkins, and longtime environmental activist. Wednesday, March 20, 2024, 7 to 8:30 pm by zoom Co-sponsors:   Broome-Tioga, Cortland, and Steuben-Chemung chapters of the League of Women Voters,                         Campaign for Renewable Energy, Fossil…

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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 Finger Lakes is accepting applications for our spring/summer 2024 round of Neighborhood Mini-Grants. The Sustainable Finger Lakes Neighborhood Mini-Grant program supports initiatives building resilience, equity, and environmental stewardship in Tompkins…

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Trees, Glorious Trees: Ancient Solutions Coupled with Modern Innovations Make for a Climate Resilient Practice Worth Spreading

(Tompkins Weekly, 2-21-24, by Erika Frenay) Of all the strategies farmers could employ to both sequester carbon AND shield their farms from climate-changed-induced weather chaos, what do you think is at the top of the list? Silvopasture! Livestock + trees + pasture = silvopasture, and it’s ranked by Project Drawdown as the #1 agricultural strategy…

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Newfield Town Board discusses solar project

(Full credit goes to Hannah Fichter at Tompkins Weekly, Jan 10th 2024) One topic of discussion at the Jan. 5 Newfield Town Planning Board meeting was a solar development proposal submitted by Robert M. Sutherland, P.C. for Solar Power Network, LLC. The plan involves developing five community solar farms near Superior Heights and Elmira Road.…

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Why NY’s Green Amendment is a Useless Tool

(All Credit Goes To Peter Mantius at Waterfront, Jan 2 2024) PERINTON, Jan. 2, 2024 — People who live near a giant waste dump that stinks can’t rely on New York State’s Green Amendment to force state agencies to take action against landfills that pollute, state Attorney General Letitia James argues in a recent court filing.…

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Climate Hope

(Tompkins Weekly, 1-3-24, by Miranda Phillips) Like many of us, I’ve struggled with climate despair. This came to a head one winter when, hearing about the death toll of an intense Christmas ice storm, I said to my husband, “How many more people have to die senselessly before we do something.”  My husband replied, “I…

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Neighborhood Mini-Grants Support Environmental Stewardship in Schools

Environmental stewardship can begin early in life if adults have the resources for teaching it. In October 2023, Sustainable Finger Lakes awarded three Neighborhood Mini-Grants for school initiatives helping students to reduce their waste and share their knowledge. (To help the Neighborhood Mini-Grant program keep giving, please donate to our 2023 Giving Tuesday campaign.) BJM…

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Author Spotlight: Kylie Flanagan’s thoughts on climate resilience and community care

(Copied from Daisy Simmons at The Yale Climate Connections. Written October 25th, 2023) Kylie Flanagan’s intersectional new book features essay-style conversations with climate leaders, plus practical, inclusive ways to get involved. Native rights activists, queer liberation ecologists, youth organizers, Latinx wilderness experts, and other climate leaders fill the pages of a personal and rousing new…

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Fracking Science Compendium 9.0

Here is your invite to the Fracking Science Compendium 9.0 International Release & Briefing Webinar. On Wednesday, November 8, 2023, please join scientists and health professionals for a webinar release and briefing of the Fracking Science Compendium, a major new report that synthesizes findings from over 2,500 scientific studies, government reports, and journalistic findings. The…

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Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program Featured in Ithaca Week

Ithaca College publication Ithaca Week showcased the Sustainable Finger Lakes Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program in an article by Caroline Grass, featuring interviews with Neighborhood Mini-Grant Coordinator Sasha Paris and the recipients of two April 2023 grants supporting native botany education at the Marshy Garden Project and the Lansing Center Trail. This program has benefited people throughout…

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Sustainable Investing Via Environmental, Social and Governance Risks

(Tompkins Weekly, 9-13-23, by Betsy Keokosky) There is a sustainable investment development gaining momentum recently that is worth keeping an eye on.  It is the practice of analyzing a company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks, and assessing opportunities for improving them.  Here, Governance means the internal governance of the company itself in areas such…

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Neighborhood Mini-Grant Applications Due October 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 Finger Lakes is accepting applications for our fall 2023/winter 2024 round of Neighborhood Mini-Grants. The Sustainable Finger Lakes Neighborhood Mini-Grant program supports initiatives improving environmental sustainability, equity, and environmental, economic,…

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TCCPI Report Highlights County Achievements on Climate Action and Clean Energy

(Tompkins Weekly, 8-23-23, by Peter Bardaglio) Once again, as it has since 2009, the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI) issued its annual report earlier this summer on member efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions, accelerate the transition to clean energy, and build a more resilient, sustainable community. A coalition of activist leaders and concerned citizens, TCCPI…

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Goodbye, Get Your GreenBack: Lessons from the Last Decade

(Tompkins Weekly, 6-14-23, by Karim Beers) Get Your GreenBack Tompkins is saying goodbye. For 12 years, this community-supported initiative led by Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County has engaged and supported households and organizations with local food access, waste reduction, savings on transportation and energy, and carbon emissions reductions. As director of Get Your GreenBack, I…

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Mobile Home Project Featured in Grist

Grist, a nonprofit media organization that publishes environmental justice news, has shared a story about our mobile home project. Read this article by Siri Chilukuri about how with the mobile home project, Holly is doing important work at the intersection of affordable housing and clean energy: https://grist.org/housing/ithaca-bets-on-heat-pumps-in-mobile-homes/

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Sustainability Science at the Paleontological Research Institution

(Tompkins Weekly, 5-24-23, by Debra Freeman) Whether you are a Finger Lakes native or visitor, if you want to better understand global climate change and see local signs of sustainability, start at the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI). Affiliated with Cornell University, PRI comprises four buildings, 100 acres, and more: laboratories in Palmer Hall; outdoor education…

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“Bloom” Premiere Tomorrow!

“Bloom,” a film produced by the Finger Lakes Land Trust and WCNY-TV, will be premiering tomorrow at 8:00 pm. The film highlights the threat of toxic algae to the Finger Lakes region. You can watch the trailer here: https://www.fllt.org/events/bloom-the-toxic-threat-to-the-finger-lakes/ and tune in to watch the show here: http://www.wcny.org/bloom/ 

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Tompkins Community Recovery Fund Grant to Support Mobile Home Pilot Project

Contact: Holly Hutchinson, Project Coordinator, 607-272-1720, ho***@su********************.org 50 low-to-moderate income mobile home owners in Tompkins County will receive support to upgrade their homes with high efficiency heat pumps as part of a Sustainable Finger Lakes pilot program funded by a Tompkins Community Recovery Fund grant. Location: Tompkins County, New York Affordable housing and an equitable…

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SUNY-ESF Tests Confirm Seneca Lake Trout Laced With PFAS; State Advisories Protect Anglers’ Habits, Not Their Health

Seneca Lake’s 59th annual National Lake Trout Derby is taking place at the end of this month. Although many contestants will plan to eat their catches, this may not be safe — recent studies have shown that Seneca Lake fish are highly contaminated with PFAS. Read this article by Peter Mantius to learn more: https://waterfrontonline.blog/2023/05/01/suny-esf-tests-confirm-seneca-lake-trout-laced-with-pfas-state-advisories-protect-anglers-habits-not-their-health/

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Hochul Administration Is Projecting Major Expansion of Sewage Sludge Spreading as Fertilizer on Farmland

The draft 2023 New York State Solid Waste Management Plan proposes to increase the recycling rate of sewage sludge, despite growing concerns about pollutants in sludge. Read this article by Peter Mantius for more information: https://waterfrontonline.blog/2023/04/26/hochul-administration-is-projecting-major-expansion-of-sewage-sludge-spreading-as-fertilizer-on-farmland/

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Earth Day Crowd of Protesters Hears Speakers Call on Gov. Hochul to Require Seneca Meadows to Close by 2025

This past Saturday, on Earth Day, Seneca Lake Guardian organized a protest against plans to expand the Seneca Meadows Inc. landfill, which is the state’s largest municipal landfill. Read this article by Peter Mantius for more information: https://waterfrontonline.blog/2023/04/22/earth-day-crowd-of-protesters-hears-speakers-call-on-gov-hochul-to-require-seneca-meadows-to-close-by-2025/

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OpEd on Greenidge Generation’s Air Permit

Last year, The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation denied Greenidge Generation’s air permit renewal due to the environmental harm of their energy production for Bitcoin mining. However, Greenidge is still operating as they appeal the decision. Read this OpEd by Tony Del Plato about why the DEC must stand their ground: https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/opinion/2023/04/21/greenidge-generation-air-permit-finger-lakes-nys-dec/70133974007/

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Sewage Sludge Debate in Cameron Turns Into ‘Complete S**tshow’ Pitting Right-to-Farm Law Against Neighbors’ Rights

At a recent public hearing over a municipal sludge-spreading operation permit, emotions got high as it was debated whether sewage sludge spreading is protected by New York’s Right to Farm law. Read the full article by Peter Mantius for more information: https://waterfrontonline.blog/2023/04/06/sewage-sludge-debate-in-cameron-turns-into-complete-stshow-pitting-right-to-farm-law-against-neighbors-rights/

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Hochul Backs 11th-Hour Bid to Undercut NY Climate Law; Greens Say ‘Accounting Trick’ Undercounts Methane Emissions

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s support for a new method of accounting for methane emissions, which would undercount these emissions and potentially save polluters billions in compliance costs, will weaken the Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act. Read this article by Peter Mantius for more information: https://waterfrontonline.blog/2023/04/04/hochul-backs-11th-hour-bid-to-undercut-ny-climate-law-greens-say-accounting-trick-undercounts-methane-emissions/

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As Cyanotoxins Soar in Owasco Lake, Threatening Tap Water, Cayuga County Ends Support for Water Monitoring

The Cayuga County legislature recently voted to stop funding water monitoring efforts for Owasco Lake, despite a rise in cyanotoxins in the lake. Read this article by Peter Mantius for more information: https://waterfrontonline.blog/2023/03/31/as-cyanotoxins-soar-in-owasco-lake-threatening-tap-water-cayuga-county-ends-support-for-water-monitoring/

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Getting to Know the EQIP Program

(Tompkins Weekly, 11-22-23, by Eric Banford) The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has many programs beneficial to farmers, ranchers and forest landowner. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is one such program that we are utilizing for our farm in Danby, NY. We are participating in a cost share incentive program to establish pollinator habitat…

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PFOS Found in Most Seneca Lake Fish at Hundreds of Times NYS Limit for Same Chemical in Tap Water, Tests Showed

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, PFOS contamination in Seneca Lake fish is a significant safety concern. Read this blog post by Peter Mantius for more information: https://waterfrontonline.blog/2023/03/13/pfos-found-in-most-seneca-lake-fish-at-hundreds-of-times-nys-limit-for-same-chemical-in-tap-water-tests-showed/

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ProSocial Discussions

(Tompkins Weekly, 3-8-2023, by Cathleen Banford) Recently, some folks met in downtown Ithaca to generate conversations centered on regional biological regeneration. Plans are underway to gather again, bringing local organizations into the conversation. Ithaca was just one stop of several for Joe Brewer and his partner Penny Heiple, who host webinars based on developing regional…

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Mini-grant image square for news item

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 Finger Lakes is accepting applications for our spring/summer 2023 round of Neighborhood Mini-Grants. The Sustainable Finger Lakes Neighborhood Mini-Grant program supports initiatives improving environmental sustainability, equity, and environmental, economic, and…

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Climate Activist Aya de Leon to Speak Virtually at Wells College

Wells College cordially invites you to tune in to learn from poet, writer,  performer, educator, and environmental and climate justice activist Aya de Leon on Thursday, February 9th for two virtual events.  Both are free and open to the public via Zoom.  Thursday, February 9, 2023          5:00PM via Zoom  Visiting Writers Series Master Class: Rumors of the Apocalypse: Optimism and Climate Justice Propaganda  …

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Wells College Seed Exchange 2023 is Open!

Read below for information about the Wells College Seed Exchange program! Think Spring!  Starting February 1st, the Wells College Seed Exchange program is open for the 2023 season. All seed is available for free from our exchange and is available while supplies last. We have created an on-line seed supply inventory to review and an order form you can…

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NY Renews Coalition’s Proposal to Fund New York’s Landmark Climate Law Could Unlock $$ for Ithaca Green New Deal

(Tompkins Weekly, 1-25-23, by Zasu Scott) New York’s hard-fought climate law was a big win for the climate justice movement. The landmark Climate and Community Protection Act (CLCPA or Climate Act) passed in 2019 set ambitious targets for both emission reductions and environmental justice, including a mandate for 40% emissions reduction by 2030. It’s already…

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Neighborhood Mini-Grant Featured in Ithaca Week

In October 2021, Sustainable Finger Lakes awarded the grassroots volunteer group Zero Waste Ithaca a Neighborhood Mini-Grant in support of their Bring Your Own Container (BYOC) initiative, a campaign inviting local restaurants and food vendors to offer customers the option of bringing their own reusable containers for take-out food. In November 2022, the Ithaca College…

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Sustainable Finger Lakes Awarded State Funding for Heat Pump Pilot In Low-Income Rentals

(Ithaca, NY) Ithaca’s Green New Deal just got an extra boost toward its climate goals. Sustainable Finger Lakes has been awarded a performance-based grant through the Innovative Market Strategies program at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to support the installation of high-efficiency heat pumps in 100 lower-income rental units in the City and Town of…

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Sustainable Finger Lakes Recipient of the Belle Sherman Elementary School 3rd Graders’ 2022 Fundraiser

Every year the third-grade teachers at Belle Sherman Elementary School— Josh Dresen, Austin Fay, andEric Reiff–engage their students in at least one local and one international fundraiser. In 2022,Sustainable Finger Lakes was chosen to receive the local donation. For their fundraiser, the Belle Sherman Elementary third grade classes worked together to produce apoetry book. They…

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Sustainable Finger Lakes at Southside Community Center Block Party in October

On October 29th, Holly Hutchinson, our Finger Lakes Climate Fund Coordinator, and Milena Bimpong, our Tenant Engagement Coordinator, did tabling at the Southside Community Center block party. Members of the community enjoyed food, music, and a raffle drawing while learning about Ithaca’s organizations and initiatives focused on sustainability, which included Cornell Cooperative Extension, HeatSmart Tompkins,…

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Seneca Meadows Landfill Tells Green Group to Yank Defamatory Criticism From Its Website; SLG Says ‘No, We Won’t be Bullied’

Seneca Lake Guardian, a nonprofit organization focused on the protection of the Finger Lakes, will not back down on their criticism towards Seneca Meadows Inc. landfill, despite SMI taking legal action. Read this article by Peter Mantius for more information: https://waterfrontonline.blog/2022/12/13/seneca-meadows-landfill-tells-green-group-to-yank-defamatory-criticism-from-its-website-slg-says-no-we-wont-be-bullied/

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New York’s New Cryptomining Law Will Spotlight Industry’s Massive Energy Use, Greenhouse Gas Emissions

New York’s new cryptomining law, which will establish a two-year moratorium on new or renewed permits for proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining operations, won’t affect New York’s two fossil-fuel-powered proof-of-work Bitcoin mining operations. However, this law is expected to draw attention to how cryptomining harms the environment. Read this blog post by Peter Mantius for more information:…

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Greenidge Sounds New Alarms About Its Financial Condition in SEC Filing, Says Cash Expected to Run Out in March

Greenidge Generation LLC is facing financial struggles after losing mining revenues, which will now make it more difficult for the company to meet its debt payments. Read this article by Peter Mantius for more information: https://waterfrontonline.blog/2022/11/15/greenidge-sounds-new-alarms-about-its-financial-condition-in-sec-filing-says-cash-expected-to-run-out-in-march/

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A new coalition for civic engagement forms in Ithaca: Your Voice + Your Vote

Your Voice + Your Vote, or YV2, is a new coalition of organizations that aims to promote civic engagement in Ithaca. The kickoff event for YV2 will be on Saturday, November 5th at the Southside Community Center from 12 to 2 pm. Read this Ithaca Voice article by Jimmy Jordan for more information: https://ithacavoice.com/2022/11/a-new-coalition-for-civic-engagement-is-forming-in-ithaca-your-voice-your-vote/

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Finger Lakes Republicans United Against Popular Environmental Bond Issue on Ballot as ‘Proposal 1’

New York Proposal 1, the Environmental Bond Measure, calls for issuing $4.20 billion in general obligation bonds to finance climate change mitigation (including clean energy initiatives), flood-risk reduction, water infrastructure, and land conservation and recreation. This proposal will be included in New York 2022 election ballots. State legislators from the Finger Lakes region have been…

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Farmland Runoff, Intense Storms Raise Phosphorus Loads That Drive HABs in Seneca-Keuka Watershed, Study Finds

The Nine Element Plan (9E), which aims to cut phosphorus pollution in the Seneca-Keuka Watershed, has finally been approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Department of State. Read this blog post by Peter Mantius to learn more: https://waterfrontonline.blog/2022/10/22/farmland-runoff-intense-storms-raise-phosphorus-loads-that-drive-habs-in-seneca-keuka-watershed-study-finds/

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Leachate from Seneca Meadows Blamed for ‘Sewer Gas’ Stench Incident in May; One Firm Asks: How Dangerous Was It?

Back in May, businesses located near the Seneca Meadows Inc. landfill reported a sewer gas stench from within their buildings, which was suspected to be hydrogen sulfide gas from leachate. The landfill was then ordered to stop pumping leachate into Seneca Falls’ sewer system. The hazardous effects of this incident are now being investigated. Read…

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DOH Finally Publishes Draft PFAS Rules; Advocates Say They Ignore EPA’s Recent Health Warning and Current Science

After the New York State Department of Health published PFAS draft rules on October 5th, advocates are concerned about the lack of consideration for the latest science from the Environmental Protection Agency, which shows the dangers that even small levels of PFAS chemicals pose to humans and the environment. Read this blog post by Peter…

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The New York Environmental Bond Act

On October 11th at 6:30 pm, join the League of Women Voters of New York State, The Nature Conservancy, WE ACT, and the New York State Conference of Operating Engineers to learn about the Clean Water, Clean Air, Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022. Speakers will include: Jessica Ottney Mahar, The Nature Conservancy Pamela…

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“The Battle of the (Farm) Bands”

The Friends of the Ithaca Farmers Market (IFM) is announcing its first fundraising event, “The Battle of the (Farm) Bands”. Farmers Market affiliated bands will compete on Sunday, October 9 from 5:00-8:00pm at IFM’s Steamboat Landing Pavilion, 545 3rd Street in Ithaca.  The event will feature IFM food and drink vendors, a raffle, and a…

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Missing Deadline to Install Fish Screens, Greenidge Plant Begins Sixth Year of Harming Aquatic Life in Seneca Lake

Greenidge Generation missed its deadline from the Department of Environmental Conservation to install fish screens on its water intake pipe, which puts the aquatic life in the Seneca Lake in danger. For more information, read this blog post by Peter Mantius: https://waterfrontonline.blog/2022/10/01/missing-deadline-to-install-fish-screens-greenidge-plant-begins-sixth-year-of-harming-aquatic-life-in-seneca-lake/

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Neighborhood Mini-Grant Applications Due October 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 Finger Lakes is accepting applications for our fall 2022/winter 2023 round of Neighborhood Mini-Grants. The Sustainable Finger Lakes Neighborhood Mini-Grant program supports initiatives improving environmental sustainability, equity, and environmental, economic,…

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Cayuga Lake Watershed Network is hiring!

The Cayuga Lake Watershed Network is accepting applications for a Program Associate! The Program Associate has a central role in carrying out our community-based programs and organizational development. This is a full-time salaried position with benefits, flexible hours, and a combination of in-person and remote work. The position description and application instructions can be viewed below and…

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image for Seneca Guardian post

Upstate New Yorkers Won’t Vote for Gov. Hochul without Cryptomining Action

News from Seneca Lake Guardian: “As Governor Hochul delays any decision around climate-killing cryptomining, local electeds and voters pledge to vote for candidates who prioritize everyday New Yorkers and the climate over crypto billionaires DRESDEN, NY (06/17/2022) (readMedia)– Cryptomining has become a flashpoint for democratic voters, as crypto crashes and Governor Hochul delays any decision around climate-killing…

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Neighborhood Mini-Grants Support Innovative New Initiatives

Individuals and small groups can start projects that make a big difference in their community, but some ideas need to be tested before gaining widespread support. In April 2022, Sustainable Finger Lakes (formerly Sustainable Tompkins) awarded $2,475 in seven Neighborhood Mini-Grants to individuals and small organizations in Tompkins County, for new initiatives with the potential…

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Thrive Seeks a New Project Director

Thrive Ithaca EcoVillage Education Center, the education and outreach arm of EcoVillage at Ithaca, is hiring! Are you a creative, responsible, and articulate professional who enjoys coordinating various tasks and responsibilities associated with running an organization? Thrive’s ideal candidate is someone who supports and is familiar with the mission of the EcoVillage, has project management/coordination…

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Sustainable Finger Lakes celebrates 18 years

(Tompkins Weekly, 5-25-22, by Gay Nicholson) Sustainable Tompkins was launched 18 years ago by a small team of local environmental and social justice activists. Weaving together our knowledge, networks and energy, we helped our community discover and adopt more sustainable patterns of living and working. Through workshops, master classes, monthly potlucks, energy fairs, study circles,…

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Local Job Opportunity!

There are currently two vacancies for the position of Waste Reduction and Recycling Coordinator in the Tompkins County Department of Recycling and Materials Management. The successful candidate for one position will manage the County programs and operations associated with food waste reduction and recycling, coordinating residential food scrap drop spots and other types of collection, contracting for compost processing,…

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webinar May 25 info

UPCOMING WEBINAR – Finger Lakes Forecast: Reducing Flood Risks for Your Home, 5/25 at Noon! 

Join us on May 25th at Noon for “Finger Lakes Forecast: Reducing Flood Risks for Your Home” to learn how the recent changes to FEMA’s flood maps will affect you and your home. Hear Scott Doyle, formerly of Tompkins County Planning & Sustainability, Sally Hoyt of Tompkins Insurance Agencies, and Alan Springett, hydrologist and flood mitigation specialist, discuss…

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screen capture of section of sustainability map

Sustainable Tompkins Puts Sustainability on the Map

The Sustainable Finger Lakes Map created by Sustainable Tompkins provides a visual interface for people interested in learning more about the regional sustainability movement. People are coming together across our region to relocalize the economy, make our systems of local governance more just and democratic, and protect our land, air, and water for future generations. The Map currently has…

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A Case for Agroforestry, Payments for Ecosystem Services

Tompkins Weekly      3-23-22 By Graham Savio It’s heartening to see common threads in recent Signs of Sustainability articles highlighting the triple bottom line of economics, environment and equity in our local agricultural system. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County (CCE-Tompkins) is engaging with these challenges in a number of ways, one of which is through…

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Worldwide Teach-In On Climate & Justice

Elmira College is hosting a day-long event dedicated to critical dialogue and interactive demonstrations on practical, just climate solutions. Participants can join virtually or in person.  Some of the activities and presentations offered include: Panel sessions on climate justice & solutions, climate & health, and climate & religion (with one focused on climate solutions at…

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Check Out this Webinar Series

Regional HeatSmart Teams, Renewable Heat Now, and various community partners and guests are offering a webinar series this spring on building electrification. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to heat your home without using fossil fuels? Learn about heat pumps, energy efficiency, and more by attending the following webinars, each one at 7pm on…

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promotion of neighborhood mini grants

Applications for Sustainable Tompkins 2022 Spring Neighborhood Mini-Grants Due April 1

Do you have an idea for a project to make our community more sustainable, resilient, or inclusive? Need a little help covering the costs? Apply for a Neighborhood Mini-Grant! We are accepting applications for our Spring round of Neighborhood Mini-Grants through April 1, 2022. Our Neighborhood Mini-Grant program supports initiatives improving ecological stewardship, community well-being,…

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Direct Air Capture: False Climate Solution?

This Thursday, March 10th, The Sanctuary for Independent Media is hosting a Virtual Town Hall about Direct Air Capture, in conjunction with Clean Air Coalition of Greater Ravena Coeymans, Clean Air Action Network of Glens Falls, Beyond Plastics, People of Albany United for Safe Energy, Food & Water Watch, Green Education and Legal Fund, and…

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New Language & Culture Class Starting Monday

Are you interested in learning about the language and culture of local indigenous groups? Stephen Henhawk is a first-language speaker who grew up on the Six Nations Reservation in Canada, where many Gayogohó:nǫˀ (Cayuga) people settled after being forced out of their ancestral homeland at the southern end of Cayuga Lake. He now lives in…

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Resource Programs Promote Conservation

Tompkins Weekly    2-9-22 By Cathleen and Eric Banford Farming is changing at a rapid pace. As we look past the industrial farming model, some of the fast-emerging focuses for small farmers are Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), farm-to-table relationships, healthy lunch school programs and edible food forests. Benefits include added nutritional value, but beyond that, it…

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ST hiring Outreach Coordinator

Get started on a career in the regional sustainability movement with us! Sustainable Tompkins is searching for an Outreach Coordinator to provide leadership in nonprofit communications, marketing, and digital technology. We are offering flexible, part-time work with good benefits, and a leadership role in the local sustainability movement.

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“Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, Blockchain: The Promise and the Peril” – Thursday, Jan. 13th @ 7pm

Save the date! Join the League of Women Voters of Tompkins County online Thursday, January 13, 2022 at 7pm to learn from speaker Irene Weiser, Coordinator of Fossil Free Tompkins. Come learn the basics of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies, how the energy appetite of some forms threatens to derail achievement of NYS climate goals, and possible directions forward. Weiser has spent 10 years working toward local and state energy policies that will bring an affordable, equitable transition to renewable energy. She was elected to three terms as council member in the Town of Caroline, serving from 2012 to 2020. Co-Sponsored by: Campaign for Renewable Energy, Fossil Free Tompkins, People for a Healthy Environment, and Sustainable Tompkins.

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BOCES offers Heat Pump Installation course

A new cycle of classes will start on January 11th, 2022! This course will be a 20-hour basic installation of low ambient mini-split heat pump class. This class will focus on the skills needed for an entry-level position as an installer of residential heat pump systems. Students will learn the basic skills and gain hands-on experience using the tools, equipment, and best practices for installing heat pump systems in cold climates. Upon successful completion of the program, a TST BOCES certificate will be issued.

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Discover Cayuga Lake Joins Carbon Offsetting Campaign

Tompkins Weekly        12-8-21 By Marisa Lansing This fall, Discover Cayuga Lake, well known for its community eco-cruises, Floating Classroom and even DJ cruises, joined the local business carbon offsetting campaign to battle climate change, Finger Lakes Enterprises for Climate Action (FLECA). With the help of cruise-goers, they offset three years of their boat’s diesel emissions…

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Gov. Hochul announces agreement to protect pristine Cayuga Lake waterfront property

Governor Kathy Hochul announced a land purchase agreement has been reached between the Finger Lakes Land Trust and New York State Electric & Gas Corp. for the 470-Acre Bell Station, the largest privately-owned undeveloped lake shoreline in the Finger Lakes. Governor Hochul in September announced that NYSEG had canceled the auction of land known as Bell Station with 3,400 feet of pristine shoreline on the east side of Cayuga Lake in Tompkins County, and that three state agencies would facilitate permanent protection of this parcel and maximize public access.

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Ithaca’s makes history! Let’s discuss…

Join us this Wednesday, November 10th to discuss the City of Ithaca’s electrification program! The fifth installment of the 1000 Conversations: Power Lunches series is this week. The City of Ithaca made history this past Wednesday as the first city to commit to decarbonizing 100% of its building stock – including commercial and residential buildings. From 12:00pm to 12:45pm on Wednesday, November 10th, Dr. Luis Aguirre-Torres, Director of Sustainability, will be joined by Donnel Baird, CEO of BlocPower, to talk about the City’s plans to roll out this monumental, first-of-its-kind program.

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Grants available for NYS farmers!

The New York Farm Viability Institute works to help New York farmers become more profitable and improve the long-term economic viability and sustainability of New York State’s farms, the food system, and the communities they serve. To that end, NYFVI has issued an RFP for its competitive grant program, which will provide grants of up to $125,000 over two years in support of proposals that have clear relevance to the state’s agriculture community, demonstrated producer support, and have the ability to deliver farm-level economic impact over time.

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Are you ready for winter?

Fall is here – the heating season is imminent. Are you ready? If you experienced ice dams last winter, now is an excellent time to get an energy audit and see if your home’s insulation can be improved. If your furnace, boiler, or water heater is coming to the end of its life, now is the time to consider replacing them with heat pumps.Not sure where to start? That’s where HeatSmart comes in! Please peruse our website, which is chock full of information, including fact sheets, webinars, and virtual home tours. Join HeatSmart for their upcoming Webinar Wednesdays Installer series! Their installer partners will walk you through a recent installation job, and there will be plenty of time for your questions. HeatSmart homeowners will be joining too. 

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NY Potential in Perennial Nut Crops

New York State has a long history of nut growing and harvesting, dating back at least 6,000 years. Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in this nutritious, perennial crop as part of our agricultural systems. Samantha Bosco, a Ph.D. candidate at Cornell University’s School of Integrated Plant Science, recently gave an inspiring and informative talk on the history and potential of nuts. The talk was titled “Nut Production in New York: Past, Present, Future” and is available on the Cornell Small Farms YouTube Channel, along with other talks from the current series. Bosco covered the history of nut tree cultivation in the area and how their local production can help meet climate resilience and social justice goals.

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PFAS 101 Virtual Teach-in

Join Environmental Advocates NY next Thursday, September 30th from 6:00 – 7:00 pm for a PFAS 101 Virtual Teach-in. During this session, you’ll learn all about PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), the push to expand drinking water testing for these cancer-cauing chemicals, and how you can take meaningful action on the issue. 

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1000 Conversations – Tompkins County panel on climate

From 12:00PM to 12:45PM on Wednesday, September 22nd, Luis Aguirre-Torres (Director of Sustainability for the City of Ithaca) and Terry Carroll (Chief Sustainability Officer for Tompkins County) will be the first speakers for the 1000 Conversations Wednesday Panel series. Luis and Terry will talk about what sustainability and climate justice mean for our community. Luis and Terry will talk about what sustainability and climate justice mean for Ithaca & Tompkins County. They will discuss strategy, engagement, collaboration and the undeniable sense of urgency. 

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Schuyler County Farm Trail Weekend this Saturday and Sunday

Have some family fun down on the farm during the 2nd Annual Schuyler County Farm Trail Weekend, Saturday and Sunday, September 25th and 26th (10:00am-4:00pm unless noted). Ten of the finest farms in the Watkins Glen area and throughout Schuyler County will be open to the public, offering tours, tastings, hay-rides, demonstrations, apple picking, farm-market shopping. Meet the farm animals, too!

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Enjoy a community meal and learn about Tompkins County’s Food System Action Plan!

The Tompkins Food Future team invites the public to attend a free community event where results of the Tompkins County Food System Baseline Assessment will be shared. The event will be held on Wednesday, September 29th at 5:00pm at the Ithaca Farmers’ Market, 545 Third Street, in Ithaca. Organizers will review the results of the baseline assessment so far. This will include challenges, strengths and opportunities in the Tompkins County food system which have been identified via interviews, surveys, focus groups and data collection throughout 2020 and 2021. Tompkins County residents, community members, municipal leaders, and food system stakeholders are invited to eat, connect, offer feedback, and provide input on the development of a Food System Plan for Tompkins County. A light meal will be provided by Head Over Heal and guest chefs. Please RSVP here if you plan to attend!

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Electric Vehicles at the Ellis Hollow Fair this Saturday!

This Saturday, September 11th from 2:00pm – 5:00pm, there will be affordable electric vehicles on display at the Ellis Hollow Fair! Swing by and enjoy their sleek design, and see the differences between Hybrids, Plug-In Hybrids, and All Battery Electric cars. Speak with an EV commuter, and learn what the world of electric vehicles has to offer – so close at hand! The average American drives less than 40 miles/day, and used EV’s go beyond that before needing a charge. Even without solar panels, EV drivers save an average of 60% on fuel costs and 50% on maintenance costs, compared with gas cars – these savings really add up! NYS is installing hundreds of rapid chargers along the interstate highways, near supermarkets and convenience stores. Come take a look and see if an EV is the right fit for you, or just learn more! More info on the fair can be found here.

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Neighborhood Mini-Grant Funds Observation Board Celebrating Six Mile Creek

Flowing through forested gorges and farmland, winding through the City of Ithaca to Cayuga Lake, Six Mile Creek is the city’s water supply and a part of home for people in diverse communities. Titus Triangle Park in Ithaca’s Southside now hosts an observation board celebrating the creek and those who live along it, created as a collaborative project led by Southside resident Adrianna Hirtler and supported by a Neighborhood Mini-Grant from Sustainable Tompkins.

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Cayuga Lake Watershed Network hiring Executive Director!

Are you passionate about water resources and climate change? Looking for a career advocating for clean water and protecting our watershed? Do you have experience in sustainability, water policy or environmental science? The Cayuga Lake Watershed Network (CLWN) has begun the search for its new Executive Director to lead, administer and build upon its mission during this time of climate crisis. The CLWN is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization with offices at Wells College in Aurora, NY.

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Community Food System Gathering: September 29, in Ithaca

FREE! Tompkins County Residents, municipal officials, and food system stakeholders are invited for a discussion of the local food system and a light meal. The Tompkins Food Future team will share the results of a baseline assessment of the Tompkins County Food System with you and would like to hear your insights, innovations, and hopes for the future. Your thoughts and contributions will be incorporated into a shared Food System Plan over the coming year. Dishes and refreshments will be provided by various guest chefs if it feels safe to do so.

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Summer Survey on Home Energy and Comfort Issues

Over the past 10 years, we’ve helped dozens of families in Ithaca and surrounding counties to become climate heroes by providing gap financing for insulation, air sealing, and high efficiency equipment. But in a city where nearly 75% of the population rents their living space, it requires a bit more effort and outreach to replace outdated, dangerous, and inefficient HVAC equipment in rental properties. This summer, our team at Sustainable Tompkins is conducting a door-to-door survey focused on lower-income neighborhoods to capture the reality of residents’ energy cost burdens and related health, indoor air quality, and home comfort issues.

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Artists Invited to Create Wearable Reused Denim Art

SewGreen in Ithaca, NY invites artists and artisans to transform old denim jeans, jackets, or skirts into wearable art and enter them in an art and fashion show. Artists are encouraged to use a variety of media from paint to stitchery. The show will open at SewGreen in November 2021 as part of downtown Ithaca’s gallery night, and will stay up through the end of the year. Entries can be modelled at the opening or displayed as wall art.

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TCCPI 2020 Annual Report Released, Part 2

Tompkins Weekly       8-11-21 By Peter Bardaglio As noted in Part I, the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI) has been compiling reports from coalition members on their annual efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, facilitate the transition to a clean energy economy and strengthen climate resiliency since 2009. The Park Foundation has provided generous…

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Tompkins County Sustainability Department hiring Senior Planner

The Tompkins County Planning and Sustainability Department is currently seeking a Senior Planner to join our team of eight professional planners who work collaboratively across disciplines on planning as well as policy and program development and implementation. This Senior Planner position will primarily focus on sustainability, energy, and climate change, including overseeing the County’s innovative Business Energy Advisor (BEA) program.

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More $$$ available for clean energy in low & moderate income homes in Cayuga, Cortland, Onondaga, Oswego & Madison counties

HeatSmart CNY is now offering even more funding for cold climate air source heat pumps and heat pump water heaters to low & moderate income customers! Income limits for eligibility will decrease with the Assisted Home Performance income limits to 80% at the end of the month. One more reason more money is needed for these households. If you’ve been considering switching to a heat pump, be sure to get your applications in for assistance before the end of the month to take advantage of highest incentives!

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Increasing a Sense of Belonging in Dryden

Dryden residents are invited to a FREE Community Café Conversation at TC3 on Wednesday, August 18, 6:30 – 8:30pm to talk about increasing a sense of belonging for all Dryden community members. Community Cafés are a great way to engage and empower people within our community to make changes together! Come and voice your opinion!

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LED Flares: A Lake Friendly Alternative for Ring of Fire

Every summer, incendiary highway flares create the beautiful red glow we know and love during the Ring of Fire. While creating an exciting fizz and bright light, they also leave behind potassium perchlorate burn-off, which contaminates the air, soil, and lake, in addition to leaving behind metal spikes that can pollute the lake. Consider a new lake-friendly tradition this summer: LED flares.

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Water Quality Cruise on Cayuga Lake for Kids

Join the Community Science Institute (CSI) on an exploration of Cayuga Lake aboard the Floating Classroom on Sunday, July 11, 2021 from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM. For the 16th year running, CSI’s 4-H2O Youth Education Program will be partnering with the Discover Cayuga Lake (DCL)’s Floating Classroom to collect and analyze water samples from Cayuga Lake. Participants will learn how to collect water samples using a Van Dorn sampler and will analyze them while on board the Floating Classroom’s cruise ship, the MV Teal. Data collected by youth volunteers will be included in CSI’s online water quality database.

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Fix-a-Flat-Tire free workshops in Ithaca

Local resident Claire Dehm will offer three free Women at the Wheel bicycle repair workshops at the Ithaca Farmers Market pavilion in summer 2021. These workshops will be open to women and non-binary residents of Tompkins County, and give extensive instruction on fixing flat tires, helping to make bicycling a more viable form of transportation for more local people. A Neighborhood Mini-Grant will cover all costs of the workshops. Read more about recent Mini-Grant awardees here.

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Social justice education for kids

Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County is proud to coordinate sessions of Chicana Motherwork’s 6-week curriculum for Tompkins families. This education plan is for parents seeking to teach their children about historical oppression, social justice, and how to create a socially just world. Current sessions are intended for ages 4-10 but can be modified for all ages. Class sessions will be hosted online only. Register here. Groups of 3-4 families will be engaging in intimate discussions surrounding race, racism, sex, class, gender, and LGBTQ+ issues. Registration is rolling. Please email to**************@gm***.com with any questions.

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Give on June 23rd for your chance to win an upcycled lamp!

Giving is Gorges is tomorrow! Even though early giving has already started, this year’s main event on June 23rd has something special in store for all Sustainable Tompkins supporters. Our dear friend Jon Jensen has kindly donated a one-of-a-kind, fully functional upcycled lamp that will be raffled off to ANYONE who donates between 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on the 23rd. Share our fundraiser on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter and get an extra entry per platform!

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A setback for activists in the crypto fight…

Assemblymember Anna Kelles, who is the sponsor of A7389, the bill that would put a moratorium on Proof-of-Work cryptocurrency mining, recently gave an update on the bill’s progress. The bill was vetoed in the last few days of the legislative session, which ended on June 10th. This was attributed to union opposition, mainly, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, who are an electrical union that represents 40 contract workers employed by the Greenidge mine in Dresden.

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Refrigerant Webinar

Refrigerants are thousands of times more potent compared with carbon dioxide and are among the fastest-growing climate pollutants in the world. Today at 3:00pm, join The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education for a webinar on refrigerant management. Tilden Chao, recipient of Sustainable Tompkins’ Youth Climate Challenge Grant back in 2018 will be on a panel of experts including a researcher at Project Drawdown. Tilden now directs the Yale Refrigerants Initiative and is an EPA Section 608-certified refrigerant handler, with Universal certification. We are so proud of Tilden! Watch the webinar here.

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June Events

How will you support the sustainability movement this month? Will you thrift to fund grassroots initiatives? Take an educational hike to learn about invasive species? Rally with us to fight bitcoin mining? Explore the full calendar of events here.

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Submit a 3-5 minute film for chance to win a scholarship or gift certificate!

On Friday, June 11, 2021, at 7:00pm, Ithaca Asian American Association is holding the Perspectives 360 Film Festival. Keeping with the “Virus has no Nationality” campaign (created in response to recent hate-crimes against Asian-Americans), IAAA encourages you to “be bold and brave in challenging issues of racism, sexism, xenophobia, ableism, heterosexism, classism, and all -isms.”

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“Getting the Gas Sector’s Energy Transition Underway” Thursday, May 27th @ 12pm

Thanks to states’ decarbonization commitments and the availability of technological alternatives to gas-reliant appliances, the coming decades are likely to see radical reductions in natural gas use in residential and commercial buildings and the adoption of clean alternatives. This Thursday, May 27th @12:00pm, the Institute for Policy Integrity, Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, and NYU School of Law’s State Energy & Environmental Impact Center will bring together officials from some of the states leading the way in this transition and ask them to share their distinct perspectives and insights about the path forward.

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Sponsor Spotlight: Roger Beck

.Thank you to Roger Beck of Beck Equipment for being our sponsor of the Home Page of the Sustainable Finger Lakes website, and the sponsor of the Democracy & Justice page on the Sustainability map. Roger is a long-time donor of Sustainable Tompkins, and has been a member of our Board of Directors for the past 6 years. These most recent sponsorships amount to $5,000, but over the course of his relationship with ST, he has donated over $27,000 in total. Roger is a rockstar! Roger’s company, Beck Equipment, services and rents out construction equipment in the Ithaca area. But Beck Equipment is just one part of Roger’s unique journey to Sustainable Tompkins…

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Resources on Heat Pumps

Need help determining the heat pump system that might be best for your home? NYSERDA has developed the Heat Pump Planner tool to help you learn more about heat pump technology, the types available, installation and operation costs, and questions to ask an installer. Check it out!

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Hooray! Indian Point nuclear plant shuts down for good!

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…

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Film: 8 Billion Angels

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.

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Earth Day Trivia 2021 – with prizes!

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!

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“Building Bridges Across Silos for Systemic Change” – Thur. April 15th

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.

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Tonight at 7pm – Make your voice heard on climate, jobs, and justice!

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.

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Tackling the Lead Dilemma in Small Municipalities

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.

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Free Seedlings Available for Streamside Plantings

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.

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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!

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THE STORY OF PLASTIC: A Two Part Event

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!

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Ask Cuomo to protect the Finger Lakes!

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.

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Win a Tesla!

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.

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March Events!

Women, Climate, and more! Catch a climate-action film, learn about the pros and cons of ranked-choice voting, or build your gardening skills! Click through our March calendar to peruse the many ways to participate in the movement.

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New Volunteer Program: Climate Stewards

Tompkins Weekly 2-24-21 By Margaret Royall This March, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County (CCE-Tompkins) will begin recruiting for the Climate Stewards volunteer training program. Application materials will be available in March on the CCE-Tompkins website at http://ccetompkins.org/environment/climate-stewards-volunteers. Climate Stewards builds upon the successful models of CCE’s existing Master Gardener and Master Composter volunteer programs.…

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Apply for a home through Habitat for Humanity!

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.

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Greenstar leads the push for a Living Wage, Sign petition for county-wide living wage in Tompkins

“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).

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3-Day Climate Summit this weekend!

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.

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Apply by Feb. 19 for Master Composter Training

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.

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Webinar: Addressing Bill Gates’ Climate Plan

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.

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Project Documents Sustainable Farming

Tompkins Weekly 2-10-21 By Graham Savio Agriculture is a relatively minor contributor toward greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, accounting for 9.9% of total U.S. emissions in 2018 according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Meanwhile, the sector has substantial capacity to contribute toward climate change mitigation efforts by offsetting emissions from other sectors as…

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Center for Aging offers Virtual Workshop on “Age-Friendliness”

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!

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Check out our February Events!

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.

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Free Seeds!

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!

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Our New Green Tips Resource!

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.

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Become an Energy Navigator!

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.

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Aggressive action on climate; Major execs sign on letter to President

‘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.”‘

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Climate Change Exhibit opens at Museum of the Earth, Ithaca

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.

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Responsible Waste Management in Geneva, NY

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.

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Alliance for a Green Economy is Hiring!

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!

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500 Clean Energy Systems Up for Grabs!

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!

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Updates on Status of Police Reform in Tompkins County

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.

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Cheap to Free Heatpumps Available!

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.

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New York State’s $226 billion pension fund moves to divest from riskiest oil and gas companies

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.

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Clean Heat Webinar this Thursday!

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.

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Environmental groups earn unprecedented climate concessions in NYSEG/RG&E gas rate case

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.

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BIPOC Farmer Training Program and Job Openings at Groundswell

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.

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Incentives Available for Home Weatherization Through Dec. 31

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.

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Cornell Professor Awarded NYSERDA Grant to help NYS go Solar

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.

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Watershed rules & regulations approved by Auburn, Owasco officials

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.

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New Documentary on Local Farmers

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!

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A Win for NY Voters!

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.

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Yates County Residents Oppose Bitcoin Mining

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.

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We Did It! NY Finalizes Statewide Strong Water Standards

“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”…

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Ithaca Farmers Market Returns to Full Vendor Capacity

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.

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Immaculate Conception Food Pantry has Re-opened!

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.

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New Remote Tutoring Program

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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