Sustainable Tompkins was launched 18 years ago by a small team of local environmental and social justice activists. Weaving together knowledge, networks, and energy, they helped the Ithaca area community discover and adopt more sustainable patterns of living and working. Through workshops, master classes, monthly potlucks, energy fairs, study circles, Earth Day rallies and multi-day regional conferences, Sustainable Tompkins helped people understand the need to redesign our economic and cultural systems and build in much more resiliency and shared security for the years ahead. Along the way, they helped launch the Green Resource Hub and its Sustainable Enterprise Network, gave out over $85,000 in Neighborhood Mini-Grants to 215 citizen-based initiatives and created the Finger Lakes Climate Fund — perhaps the oldest U.S. local carbon offset program — providing over $130,000 in grants to 77 lower-income families for clean energy improvements to their homes.
“We believe that we need more of a shared identity as a regional sustainability movement, working together to protect the very special landscapes of the Finger Lakes,” stated Gay Nicholson, the organization’s cofounder and president.
“Our foodsheds, watersheds, and economy operate at the regional scale – so if we want to design for long-term resilience we will need to work together across the artificial boundaries of cities and counties.”
Their website features news and events as well as calls to action from groups across the region, along with profiles of businesses and organizations from among the 700 entities listed on the Finger Lakes Sustainability Map. The organization also manages a regional Sustainability Calendar, where events can be posted and people can find out what’s going on across the region that may be of interest to them.
Sustainable Finger Lakes has already been working regionally through their Climate Fund, with awardees in 10 counties, and they hope to be able to partner up with sponsors and offer Neighborhood Mini-Grants to provide seed money for citizen and youth initiatives in other counties. This Spring and Fall, they are hosting a Finger Lakes Forecast webinar series which looks at how climate change will affect our lives here in the Finger Lakes. Their April webinar, “Climate Disruption and Food Security”, featured local farmers and researchers on the frontlines of climate change for the region. Their May webinar, “Reducing Flood Risk for Your Home”, focused on projected flooding patterns, insurance options and how residents can prepare their homes and businesses for flash floods, groundwater floods and river floods. On June 29, Sustainable Finger Lakes will present “The Role of Land Use in Harmful Algal Blooms” with a focus on land use policies and practices to address this growing threat to our water bodies. Register for this event here. To support Sustainable Finger Lakes, visit here.
Email Sarah Nickerson at [email protected] to learn more about this event or other services and programs offered by Sustainable Finger Lakes.