Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative – May 2011

May 25, 2011
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By Peter Bardaglio, Senior Fellow, Second Nature

Welcome to the May 2011 issue of the TCCPI Newsletter, a monthly update from the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI).

TCCPI Backs Plan for Sustainability Center on the Commons

Ithaca Commons

Ithaca Commons on a sunny spring day!

Members of the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative at a recent meeting strongly endorsed the concept of a sustainability center located on The Commons indowntown Ithaca and identified the establishment of such a center as one of its top priorities for 2011.

The proposed sustainability center will foster broader community awareness and involvement in sustainability efforts in Tompkins County. Local residents, visitors, and students from nearby educational institutions can learn and interact with a wide range of sustainability projects and programs underway in Tompkins County and the Finger Lakes region.

Displays, videos and interactive exhibits will allow visitors to the center to become informed about, and engaged in, those efforts. The facility will be staffed by a program coordinator, work-study students, and volunteers, and could provide office and meeting space for sustainability projects and internships.

The Sustainability Center Steering Committee is made up of the following individuals, all of whom are TCCPI members:

  • Ed Marx, Commissioner of Planning, Tompkins County
  • Gay Nicholson, President, Sustainable Tompkins
  • Marian Brown, Special Assistant to the Provost, Ithaca College
  • Gary Stewart, Director of Community Relations, Cornell University
  • Gary Ferguson, Executive Director, Downtown Ithaca Alliance

According to the proposal, there are three major target audiences for the center: students wishing to become engaged in sustainability projects, internships, and work-study jobs; residents who want to learn more about sustainability efforts in the community and find out how they can become involved; and visitors who want to learn about sustainability in Tompkins County and the Finger Lakes region and opportunities to witness first hand some of these activities.

TCCPI’s endorsement comes ahead of a June 1 meeting of the County Legislatures’s Planning, Development, and Environmental Quality Committee.

Next TCCPI Meeting:
Friday, May 27, 2011
9 to 11 am
Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce
904 East Shore Drive
Ithaca, NY 14850

TCCPI Receives Sustainability Award from Cornell University

Kyu Whang

Kyu Whang, vice president for facilities services, presented the Cornell Sustainability Award to TCCPI at its April meeting.

In honor of Sustainability Month, the Cornell University President’s Sustainable Campus Committee presented the second annual Partners in Sustainability Award to the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative on Friday, April 29, 2011.

The award recognizes TCCPI for its ongoing partnership in regional carbon reduction strategies. The award ceremony at the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce included remarks from Kyu Whang, vice president of Facilities Services and co-chair of the President’s Sustainable Campus Committee; and Peter Bardaglio, TCCPI coordinator.

Cornell cited TCCPI as an effective partner in the regional effort to conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions, and specifically for the coalition’s achievements in the following areas:

  • Creation of a peer-to-peer mentoring network for leaders from government, education, not-for-profit, faith and business organizations.
  • High quality articles and opinion pieces on energy and climate issues in the local media.
  • Development of a regional strategy for achieving significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Development of financing mechanisms for homeowners and businesses to achieve greenhouse gas reduction targets

“By recognizing groups that partner with higher education institutions to advance sustainability, we build on the successes of research and teaching, and acknowledge that we must also bring together practitioners and leaders throughout the world in support new policies and practices,” Daniel Roth, Cornell University sustainability manager, said.

Cornell’s Partners in Sustainability Award is given each year to one or more recipients who have made significant contributions to the sustainable development of New York State and the Cornell campus through collaboration with Cornell University. The 2010 recipient was the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) for its leadership in statewide energy conservation and renewable energy initiatives.

One last thing:

Gary Stewart, director of community relations at Cornell University, writes in this month’s featured article, about how collaboration among the varied members of the TCCPI coalition is at the heart of its organizational culture. As he observes, “TCCPI represents the spirit of new-era democracy, with bigger-business advocates sitting next to Snug Planet, with large-scale power generators conferring with EcoVillage, or with Tompkins County Solid Waste having the opportunity to compare notes with Museum of the Earth. TCCPI sessions are about partnerships and progress in Tompkins County.”

Partnerships are the key to building a more sustainable future. Only if we harness the power of the network will we effectively address such issues as climate destabilization and clean energy. Especially in the context of the current national and international stalemate on climate policy, it is clear that communities must take up a collaborative effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, and adopt renewable energy technologies. TCCPI is thus honored to receive the 2011 Partners in Sustainability Award from Cornell University.

If you are interested in participating, please contact us and we’ll be happy to talk with you in more detail about our mission, goals, and activities.

TCCPI is a multisector collaboration seeking to leverage the climate action commitments made by Cornell University, Ithaca College, Tompkins Cortland Community College, Tompkins County, and the City of Ithaca to mobilize a countywide energy efficiency effort and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy. Launched in June 2008 and generously supported by the Park Foundation, TCCPI is a project of Second Nature, the lead supporting organization of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

We are committed to helping Tompkins County achieve a dynamic economy, healthy environment, and resilient community through a focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy.

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